Hasan Minhaj admits to ‘exaggeration, fiction’ in stand-up stories

Hasan Minhaj admits to ‘exaggeration, fiction’ in stand-up stories
via Netflix Is A Joke
Ryan General
September 18, 2023
Comedian Hasan Minhaj has admitted to the use of fictionalized and exaggerated stories in his stand-up comedy specials.
70% emotional truth: Minhaj, who is known for his insightful and humorous take on being a Muslim and Asian American, addressed the scrutiny in a recent interview with The New Yorker published Friday. The publication independently confirmed that several of the anecdotes the 37-year-old stand-up comic performed in his Netflix specials were exaggerated or partly fabricated.
“Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth. My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70 percent emotional truth — this happened — and then 30 percent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction,” he was quoted saying. 
Fictitious anecdotes: In the special “Homecoming King,” Minhaj recounted a story of being rejected by his date on prom night, only to later discover her attending with someone else. The woman involved, who claimed to have faced years of online threats and doxing, clarified that she had declined his invitation days before the event.
Similarly, Minhaj exaggerated an anecdote about his daughter’s exposure to what he believed was anthrax, admitting that the incident never occurred as he described it.
He also admitted to fabricating an anecdote in “The King’s Jester” special about an FBI informant named Brother Eric infiltrating his family’s mosque.  Minhaj claimed the police slammed him onto the hood of his car shortly after he joked to the informant about him getting his pilot’s license. This story, he admitted, was based on the middle-aged men his friends played with pickup basketball in his youth. At the time, they suspected them to be officers.
The stories, Minhaj claims, are based on “emotional truth,” noting that the punch lines are worth the fictionalized premises.
Exaggeration for emotional impact: In a separate statement to Vanity Fair, Minhaj emphasized that all his stand-up stories are based on actual events: “Yes, I was rejected from going to prom because of my race. Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost harmed my daughter. Yes, I had an interaction with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicocele repair surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I roasted Jared Kushner to his face.”
He went on to explain that comedy often involves a blend of fact and fiction to create a more engaging and relatable narrative: “I use the tools of stand-up comedy — hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines — to tell entertaining stories. That’s inherent to the art form. You wouldn’t go to a haunted house and say, ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ The point is the ride. Stand-up is the same.”
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