Comedian Hasan Minhaj has admitted to making up some of the stories told in his past stand-up specials.
In a New Yorker profile, the former Daily Show contributor says, “Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth. My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70% emotional truth — this happened — and then 30% hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
One such fabrication was a story he told in 2022’s The King’s Jester special, where he said his daughter had been exposed to a white powder thought to be anthrax and was hospitalized. In another fictionalized anecdote, he talked about an FBI informant that was undercover at his family’s mosque.
Minhaj tells the New Yorker those stories were rooted in “emotional truth” and that “the punch line is worth the fictionalized premise.”
“No, I don’t think I’m manipulating [the audience],” he adds. “I think they are coming for the emotional roller-coaster ride…To the people that are, like, ‘Yo, that is way too crazy to happen,’ I don’t care because yes, f*** yes — that’s the point.”
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