Hasan Minhaj is arguably the most famous Muslim stand-up comedian on the planet. His stand-up prowess has seen preform all over the world, as can be seen in the brilliant documentary Stand Up Planet. He has also been a senior correspondent on the American satirical program The Daily Show for a few years now, with many of these videos available on YouTube.
As a stand-up Minhaj is very, very clever, always on the edge of the here-and-now of politics and culture, and is never afraid to speak his mind by telling it like he wants to. Take for example the following quote that manages to relate 9/11 with the election victory of Trump:
For the past 15 years, I’ve been blamed for 9/11. White Americans are now responsible for 11/9. – Hasan Minhaj
Another example of Minhaj being brutally honest came on the 15th of June in 2016, when Minhaj was the comedy speaker at the annual Radio And Television Correspondents’ Association dinner. His speech was around 23 minutes long, and the last 5 minutes have a ferocious honesty about them that clearly left the whole room silent and speechless.
As good as the RTCA is, it is still however the lesser cousin of the bigger, bolder, and brasher White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, an annual event that is traditionally attended by the then sitting president. The last time a president missed the WHCA dinner was way back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt (a good enough reason I guess). Since 1981, however, every president has attended this annual event. They’ve sat there and politely smiled as some comedian or other makes fun of them for around 25 minutes.
As I’ve said, no president since 1981 has missed this event. Until now! Trump openly refused to attend this event weeks in advance, instead holding a rally of his own on the same night amongst his faithful in, erm, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Arguably the main reason for Trump deciding not to attend, other than his incredibly thin orange skin, was the announcement that the comedy speaker on the night would be none other than the Muslim son of an immigrant Hasan Minhaj.
The entire 25 minute speech, well worth watching in full, is shown below, along with a transcript of my favourite lines. Overall, Minhaj has received universal praise for the speech (he did receive an almost rock star like standing ovation at the end of it), but there are some who don’t seem to care for it:
Following the speech from Minhaj below is a clip from the Daily Show where host Trevor Noah and Minhaj talk of the ‘triumphant’ effect (or perhaps lack thereof) of Minhaj’s attempt at fully taking down the Donald.
Finally, another event that took place the same night was comedian Samantha Bee’s Not The White House Correspondent’s Dinner which, just like the speech given by Minhaj, is well worth watching. Anways, as always, enjoy!
Hasan Minhaj speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, 29 Apr 2017, at the Washington Hilton…
This administration loves deleting history faster than Anthony Weiner when he hears footsteps. – Hasan Minhaj
The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow, and it’s a very long flight. It would be hard for Vlad to make it. Vlad can’t just make it on a Saturday. It’s a Saturday! – Hasan Minhaj
I get why Donald Trump didn’t want to be roasted tonight. By the looks of him, he’s been roasting nonstop for the past 70 years. Historically, the president usually performs at the Correspondents’ Dinner. But I think I speak for all of us when I say he’s done far too much bombing this month. Now, a lot of people in the media say that Donald Trump goes golfing too much. You guys are always like, “He goes golfing too much!” Which raises a very important question: why do you care? Do you want to know what he’s not doing when he’s golfing? Being president! Let the man putt putt! Keep him distracted! Teach him how to play badminton. Tell him he has a great body for bobsledding. Play him Tic-Tac-Toe. The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea. – Hasan Minhaj
Frederick Douglass isn’t here, and that’s because he’s dead. Someone please tell the president. – Hasan Minhaj
Jeff Sessions couldn’t be here tonight. He was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. On his R.S.V.P. he just wrote, “no.” Just no! Which happens to be his second favorite n-word. – Hasan Minhaj
It is 2017, and we are living in the golden age of lying. Now’s the time to be a liar, and Donald Trump is liar in chief. – Hasan Minhaj
We’re living in this strange time where trust is more important than truth. And supporters of President Trump trust him. – Hasan Minhaj
It was all fun and games with Obama, right? You were covering an adult who could speak English. And now you’re covering President Trump, so you have to take your game to a whole new level. It’s like if a bunch of stripper cops had to solve a real-life murder. – Hasan Minhaj
Fox News is here. I’m amazed you guys even showed up. How are you here in public? It’s hard to trust you guys when you backed a man like Bill O’Reilly for years. But it finally happened: Bill O’Reilly has been fired. But then you gave him a $25 million severance package, making it the only package he won’t force a woman to touch. – Hasan Minhaj
MSNBC…you’re turning into conspiracy theorists every night. You’re like, “the Russians hacked our elections! The Russians hacked our elections!” Meanwhile, everybody in Latin America and the Middle East is like, “Ohhh! A foreign government tampered with your elections? What is that like? Do tell, MSNBC!” – Hasan Minhaj
I don’t have a solution on how to win back trust. I don’t. But in the age of Trump, I know that you guys [journalists] have to be more perfect now more than ever, because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisors, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies–you guys. So that’s why you gotta be on your A game. You gotta be twice as good. You can’t make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority. And I can see some of you guys complaining–like, what? I gotta work twice as hard for half the credit? Remember: you’re a minority…And then, when you actually manage to do great work, you get hit with the most condescending line in the English language: “Hey, you’re actually one of the good ones.” Then you have to smile and say “thank you.” Kind of sucks, doesn’t it? – Hasan Minhaj
Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah on the Daily Show, discussing the WHCA dinner…