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HomeHumor‘The New Yorker’ Accuses Hasan Minhaj of Making Up Disturbing Tales for...

‘The New Yorker’ Accuses Hasan Minhaj of Making Up Disturbing Tales for Comedy

Nobody expects comedians to be journalists. When Wanda Sykes or Patton Oswalt or Taylor Tomlinson unspool a humorous anecdote, we not solely settle for a certain quantity of comedian embellishment, we demand it. That’s what comics do! However are the expectations totally different when a comic book like Hasan Minhaj describes scary experiences he’s had as a Muslim American? The New Yorker sat down with Minhaj to determine that out. 

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How would possibly Minhaj’s comedy be totally different? Right here’s an instance. In his 2022 Netflix particular The King’s Jester, he tells a narrative about Brother Eric, a white FBI informant who infiltrated his household’s Sacramento mosque whereas Minhaj was nonetheless in highschool. Minhaj claimed he was onto Brother Eric from the beginning. When Brother Eric was asking his buddies about jihad, Minhaj joked that he was going for his pilot’s license. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the police arrived and threw Minhaj up in opposition to a automobile. Some years later, Minhaj and his father noticed a information report about Craig Montielh, a person who turned an FBI informant and infiltrated Muslim communities in California. “Effectively, nicely, nicely, Papa, look who it's,” Minhaj says he advised his father. “It’s our good good friend Brother Eric.”  

Minhaj punctuated the story in King’s Jester with video projected on a big display behind him, footage from an Al Jazeera report about Montielh to show that his teen-age instinct had been right. It underscored Minhaj’s bigger factors about how tough it was to be a Muslim within the days of the struggle on terror.

The issue: This story, like others within the particular, by no means occurred. The New Yorker talked to Monteilh, who solely labored in southern California, not in Sacramento, throughout years that don’t match up with Minhaj’s claims. “I don't know why he would do this,” Monteilh stated.

The New Yorker additionally debunks different startling Minhaj tales just like the comic receiving a letter containing a mysterious powder that led to an emergency hospital go to for his younger daughter. Once more, by no means occurred.

Minhaj acknowledged to The New Yorker that the details round these tales had been slippery (his daughter was by no means uncovered to powder; there was no hospital go to) however justified the bits anyway. “Each story in my type is constructed round a seed of reality,” he stated. “My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy % emotional reality—this occurred—after which thirty % hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”

The Brother Eric story? Minhaj admits he made it up primarily based on a tough foul he acquired throughout a recreation of pickup basketball as a teen. Minhaj and buddies performed pickup video games in opposition to males whom the boys suspected had been officers and one pushed Minhaj to the bottom. Certain, Minhaj says, the Brother Eric and white powder tales had been largely phony however primarily based on “emotional reality” in help of a broader level. “The punch line,” he argues, “is definitely worth the fictionalized premise.”

Is all of this honest recreation within the title of comedy that delivers a much bigger message? A author for The Day by day Present isn’t certain. “If he’s mendacity about actual folks and actual occasions, that’s an issue. A lot of the attraction of these tales is ‘This actually occurred.’”

The New Yorker expose is stuffed with extra examples and repeated justifications from Minhaj. However there aren't any apologies. “The emotional reality is first,” he says. “The factual reality is secondary.”


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