Hasan Minhaj’s chance on “Daily Show” declines after comedy scandal

Comedy Central is casting a wider net in its search for Trevor Noah’s successor on “The Daily Show.”

While comedian Hasan Minhaj was initially reported as the top candidate for the hosting job, Now Variety reports that Comedy Central’s parent company, Paramount Global, is actively considering other talent in light of the fallout from a New Yorker article that found Minhaj has presented the truth in some of his stand-up performances.

In his Reply to The New Yorker, Minhaj admitted embellishing several supposedly autobiographical anecdotes about Islamophobia, but claimed the stories revealed “emotional truths.”

Noah left The Daily Show in 2022. Since then, a number of different comedians have appeared as hosts on the popular late-night TV show, including Minhaj, Chelsea Handler, Leslie Jones, Al Franken, Kal Penn, Marlon Wayans and Sarah Silverman, as well as longtime collaborators Roy Wood, Jr., Desi Lydic and Jordan Klepper.

Hasan Minhaj performs at the 13th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit Concert on November 4, 2019.
Hasan Minhaj performs at the 13th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit Concert on November 4, 2019.

According to Variety, Minhaj is still in the running for the role, but Comedy Central is also taking a closer look at audience research to find out which current temporary hosts have been successful.

This casting conundrum comes as the satirical news show prepares to return to the studio after a five-month hiatus due to strikes by the Writers Guild of America. Hollywood writers will go back to work after striking a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that ensures higher residual salaries, more transparency in streaming numbers, better staffing and guardrails on the use of artificial intelligence.

Following the New Yorker report, Minhaj defended his storytelling in a statement to Variety.

“All of my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me,” he said.

“Yes, I was banned from prom because of my race,” Minhaj added. “Yes, a letter was sent to my apartment with powder that almost harmed my daughter. Yes, I had contact with law enforcement during the War on Terror.”

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