All comedians make things up. But Minhaj's work can't be easily defined as just "comedy."
Completely agree with you on Minhaj, and I find it really odd how many people are leaping to his defense. Like you say, every comedian fabricates or heightens details, but there’s a difference. I’d expect most comedy fans to feel that. Mike Birbiglia probably punches up his hospital interactions in Sleepwalk With Me, but if he *never suffered from a sleep disorder* I’m pretty sure folks would feel lied to. Mulaney probably didn’t get a call from “Al Pacino” in rehab, but if it came out that he never went to rehab at all, we’d consider him manipulative. Same with Maria Bamford and depression, etc etc. When you trade on your own image and reputation to make a joke work, you’re opening yourself up to this criticism.
1) I can’t help but feel that the “it’s just a joke” crowd are similar to the “anti-woke” crowd, which would probably mean they have overlap with the “Nanette isn’t stand up” crowd. The argument there was that confessional storytelling about trauma isn’t “funny” and therefore isn’t comedy. If it came to light that Hannah Gadsby had fabricated the underlying revelations of her special, I’m pretty sure they would have crucified her.
2) This is totally subjective, but I remember seeing Minhaj drop in at the Comedy Cellar 5-6 years ago. I was sitting in the front row, and what was striking about him was that he made it feel like he was making eye contact with you the whole show. Like he wants to cut the bullshit and be vulnerable with you. Earnestness was very much a brand or tool that set him apart from other people. With that broken, it makes sense that he’d alienate some segment of the audience he built.
Really well said. Shocking that many people can’t tell the difference between exaggerating for comedic effect vs lying to generate sympathy/respect. If Jon Stewart had lied about being victimized on his show or in his act there’s no way it would have flown.
Hard for me to believe Minhaj really believes he did nothing wrong, I’d love to know the (non-emotional) truth there.
Hey David, I would really love if you could react and share your thoughts about Hasan’s rebuttal to the New Yorker piece. He just posted it on YouTube https://youtu.be/ABiHlt69M-4?si=Q7vEl5l7rXPBeQ31
How is this any different from Dave Chapelle claiming he saw a literal baby selling crack on a street corner? Or that Mitch Hedberg changed his phone number to 222-222-2222? I would venture a guess that 100% of comedians either make up entire bits or drastically stretch the truth for others.