Whoopi Goldberg defends fellow stand-up Hasan Minhaj from recent backlash.
While the crowd often suspends disbelief at comedians’ more outlandish premises, many believe Minhaj went too far by claiming in his 2022 special “The King’s Jester” that he once rushed his child to the hospital because of a feared anthrax attack.
“That’s what we do,” Goldberg said Monday on “The View.”. “We tell stories and then embellish them.”
“If you’re going to take a comic to the point where you’re reviewing its stories, you have to understand that a lot of it isn’t exactly what happened, because why should we tell exactly what happened?” Goldberg added. “That’s not that interesting.”
Minhaj claimed on the comedy special that he once received an envelope containing white powder that accidentally got on his young daughter. He said doctors assured him after he was transported to the hospital that the substance was not anthrax. He later amplified the story in an interview.
“There are consequences for what you say and do,” Minhaj told the Daily Beast in 2022. “And when it hurts the people who count on you the most and someone as innocent as my daughter, I really have to reevaluate and reexamine what I’m doing here.”
Minhaj admitted in a New Yorker profile published Friday however, that this never happened after the outlet confronted him about the lack of police reports or hospital records regarding the incident. The former “Patriot Act” host argued that “exaggeration” is “inherent to the art form.”
The New Yorker profile also noted that the second-generation Indian-American lied in his 2017 “Homecoming King” special. This story — in which a white girlfriend agreed to be his high school prom date, only to cancel at the last minute when she was confronted by her parents’ racism — never happened.
Minhaj admitted to the outlet that this friend never agreed to go to prom with him, but argued that there was an “emotional truth” to the story. He claimed another installment about a white undercover FBI agent who infiltrated his family’s mosque was “worth the fictional premise.”
Goldberg said Monday that in her old routine, she posed as a graduate of New York University. But Minhaj’s inventions concern potential acts of terrorism, racism and white supremacy – and left a sour taste In the mouths of many fans.
On Monday, Minhaj compared getting up to a haunted house. tells The Hollywood Reporter that no one would come to you and ask, “Why are these people lying to me?” He suggested that everything said on stage was completely fair.
“All of my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me,” he told the outlet. “I use the tools of standup comedy – exaggeration, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories.”