Minhaj: Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj kills it on Comedy Central


WASHINGTON: When Hasan Minhaj was chosen to deliver the White House Correspondents Association dinner address in 2017, he joked ”No one wanted to do this, so of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant.”
Fast forward 2023, Minhaj, whose parents immigrated to America from Aligarh, UP, is guest hosting The Daily Show, one of the most prestigious gigs in late night comedy, amid calls to make him a permanent fixture after a brilliant start.
These immigrant kids…. forget CEO suits and political office, they are not even sparing jobs in showbiz and comedy circuit.
Minhaj, 37, got his first big break in late night television on The Daily Show with the acclaimed Jon Stewartworking as its senior correspondent from 2014 to 2018. His brilliant critiques on growing up and being a Muslim and immigrant in an America that saw an uptick in xenophobia won him plaudits — and the first of his two Peabody Awards for his comedy special, Homecoming King,released on Netflix in 2017.
He left The Daily Show in August 2018 to host a weekly comedy show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, on Netflix, winning a second Peabody in 2019. It’s a full circle now as he returns as host following the exit of Trevor Noah in December 2022 after being at the helm for seven years. Noah had succeeded Jon Stewart who hosted the Comedy Central’s flagship show for 16 years and became a legend.
Minhaj’s most famous moment came during the WHCA dinner in 2017 when he took down then President Donald Trump, who boycotted the event that Presidents typically attend sportingly even though they are roasted.
“The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he’s in Moscow,” Minhaj joked, calling him “Liar-in-Chief” and the years of his Presidency the “Golden Age of Lying.”
In a shtick that enraged Trump’s MAGA-base, he mocked the then President’s penchant for golf, his lack of attention to serious issues, and his odd media habits, joking, “He tweets at 3 AM… sober. Who tweets at 3 AM sober? Donald Trump, because it’s 10 AM in Russia. Those are business hours!”
Minhaj was born in Davis, California, and grew up and studied there. His father Hire Minhaj is an organic chemist and his mother Seema Usmani Minhaj is a doctor who went back to India to finish her medical degree for several year before returning to US.
“We were basically two brown dudes trying to make it in America. He’s trying to navigate being the only brown guy at his work. He’s this single guy, but he’s married. And he has this kid, this son he’s raising. And I’m navigating growing up in this sea of white. I’m this one brown speck in my class photo,” Minhaj recalled in one interview.
In unvarnished recollections of growing up brown, Indian, and Muslim in America, Hasan once related how he defied his conservative dad to go on a prom date with a white girl, only to have her mother tell him when he reached their home that he would not be a good fit because they would be taking a lot of photos (and they did not want family back in Ohio to see her with with a brown guy)
“I biked home and I snuck back into my room and I just played Mario Kart for the rest of the night. And that’s the best I’ve ever been dressed playing Mario Kart,” Hasan joked.
Hasan is married to Beena Patel, a Gujarati Hinduwho was his school and college sweetheart for ten years, and he has spoken about the opposition he had to overcome on all sides to bring about that union.
Earlier this week, Minhaj took to his new role as host with a brilliant skit with Ronny Chiengboth fighting over who is Asian, and ending with an agreement, “Let’s not fight. White people are watching.” In another segment, Minhaj quit Twitter and deactivated his account live on air, calling it a “hellscape.”


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