Hasan Minhaj: Jokes are catalysts to take you to the truth
Internet star and arguably world's most renowned desi comic Hasan Minhaj on his brand of humour
Hasan Minhaj. Pic/Errikos Andreou
Being a brown comic in Donald Trump's America is a tough feat. But if you're Hasan Minhaj, you'll roast Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and come out grinning. In the February edition of GQ India, the hitmaker behind Homecoming King gets candid about his brand of comedy and why humour is a trigger for social change.
Referring to himself as an angry optimist, Minhaj opines, "Jokes are catalysts to take you to the truth." His digs at Trump aside, he wants to move away from the blueprint of using himself as a subject constantly. He feels it tends to be constricting. "People are like, 'Tell me more stories about your life and your parents.' I'm like, 'I gave you my life story,'" he says.
His tryst with comedy began with a chance encounter - Minhaj watched Never Scared, a Chris Rock special, during his college days and fell in love with comedy. What followed was a string of open mics and founding of a comedy club, even. With his quick wit and a lucid understanding of the society, it was only a matter of time before Minhaj graduated to being part of The Daily Show.
The show has him travelling around the US for a segment called Brown In Town that offers a satirical take on the happenings in the country. Having been associated with the genre for over a decade, Minhaj says comedy goes well beyond punch lines. "I realise the most important thing is that the jokes aren't important. What's the take? What's the argument that makes sense of the insanity," he questions, establishing this as the crux of his logic to humour.
The Indian-American comic says that despite being raised in California, "India was never far behind". So much so that at his wedding to his college sweetheart, Minhaj and his groomsmen danced to Saajanji Ghar Aaye from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
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