It was by sheer luck that I happened to come across a Stand-Up Comedy special by Hasan Minhaj Saturday night. A friend and I were searching for something to watch and I suggested to try some stand-up. I haven’t seen a good one in a while due to recycled jokes about politics and the African-American culture but I needed a good laugh. Our first choice was Chris Hardwick and throughout his entire show, I maybe laughed a good four times. After it was over I was getting ready to head to bed when I saw Minhaj’s picture and said: “a Hindu comedian, this I gotta see”.
To be honest, I’ve never heard of him before. I don’t care for politics or watch The Daily Show so this was by sheer chance I happened to hit play.
From the opening it was different. Minhaj interacted with the crowd not just with the jokes but with an insight into his personal life with pictures in the background. The fact that he did this in his hometown of Davis, California was pure genius. The crowd was behind him as he talked about places in the area like Toys-R-Us and Home Depot, and schools. But it was the way he spoke to the crowd at home by looking into the camera that drew me in.
His jokes were well-timed and done with such great precision that you forgot you were watching a Stand-Up show until he said something outrageously funny. It was the story of his life. How he grew up and his family’s background. We all heard the jokes before of the father with the dirty mouth but to hear that from a Hindu perspective made me realize that we’re all not that entirely different. I can go on about his jokes for days (don’t want to spoil it). but it was well worth the loss of sleep
I will say this. His relationship with his sister may be one of the best parts of his act. To hear someone provide jokes about a loved one only to realize how much he does indeed love her after his hate for her when they were young is awesome. And his ex. Oh man, that was genius. It was spot on in regards to racism that he had to endure only to see Minhaj overcome that just lets you know the special talent this kid has.
While we gravitate in the direction of Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, and others we must be willing to take a chance on not just someone, but something different. Minhaj taught me that laughter comes in all colors and backgrounds. Who would’ve thought that a brown boy from Davis, California could make a black kid from Bronx, NY laugh like that?