What Will People Think? (Standup Review: “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King”)

hasan minhaj homecoming king POSTER

The real-life perils and comedic pitfalls of growing up a 1st generation Indian Muslim in post 9/11 America are told in rapid-fire bursts of hip-hop exuberance and emotion in Hasan Minhaj’s insightful, autobiographical comedy special.


SnapShot Plot

If John Stamos had a little Indian brother, he might look a lot like the boyishly handsome Hasan Minhaj, whose brand new special, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King has recently debuted on Netflix. You may know Hasan Minhaj as a senior correspondent on The Daily Show, or as many refer to him, ‘Jon Stewart’s last hire.’ To fans of NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour, you will recognize bits from this Netflix special. He was also enlisted as the first Indian-American Muslim to perform at the recent 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C.

This show takes about ten minutes to heat up and get used to Minhaj’s youthful, kinetic energy and his rap-influenced banter (although he never actually raps, thank goodness) and for a short while you may think you’ve heard this Immigrant-in-America story before. And then something happens. His family trajectory gets strange in a way few of us can imagine, and when he sprinkles in a good dose of Hindi into his speech (with soul stirring translations), you realize this California native is painting a portrait of an America still filled with exploding promise and opportunity but hiding a decidedly unpleasant, stigmatizing and racist underbelly. Although his comic timing is so deftly acrobatic that you’re smiling before you realize the ethics lesson underneath.



Parting Shot

Hasan Minhaj’s star is certainly on the rise, and, like Aziz Ansari (with whom he’s widely compared) there seems no limit to the horizons before him. Who knows where his comedy will take him, but for now there seems to be a sweetness, a ‘good boy’ness to his narrative that I find most appealing. So let’s sum it up with a quote by his inimitable mentor and former boss, Jon Stewart: “Hasan Minhaj has the goods. He’s funny, thoughtful and really smart. And it’s not just about his tall and amazing hair. You’re going to laugh and cry, because you, unlike me, can still feel.”

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King is presently streaming on Netflix.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu-u5VldxVY


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