Hasan Minhaj admitted to exaggerating “the objective truth” of his real-life experiences while telling jokes during his stand-up routines.
The 37-year-old comedian has told stories about his daughter being hospitalized after possibly being exposed to anthrax. He also recalled an experience in which an FBI informant began attending his family’s mosque. In the story, Hasan played a prank on the informant and called the police.
Both stories had false elements, which he said was okay because he was telling an “emotional truth” in his retellings. He revealed the truth about those stories and explained his comedy style in an interview.
Read more about what Hasan Minhaj said…
“Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth,” Hasan told The New Yorker. “My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy percent emotional truth (this happened) and then thirty percent hyperbole, exaggeration and fiction.”
In his mix, he says that “factual truth is secondary.”
What was the truth about these stories?
As for the anthrax story, Hasan said his daughter was never exposed. In fact, neither was he. The truth is that he had received a letter that contained a powdery substance.
After opening it, he joked with his wife that it could be anthrax.
His story about an informant arriving at his mosque was more complicated. He explained that it was based “on a hard foul he received during a basketball game in his youth.”
They played against older men, who he and his friends believed might have been police officers. Hasan said he was pushed to the ground during the game.
“I don’t think I’m manipulating,” he said of the stories. Furthermore, he opined that “the joke is worth the fictional premise.”
He also said his jokes and stories were “based on truth.”
Last month it was reported that Hasan was a possible favorite to become the new host of The daily show.