Whoopi Goldberg Defends Hasan Minaj Over Embellishing Stand-Up Stories

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Whoopi Goldberg is defending Hasan Minhaj, who has ignited a fierce debate after admitting to embellishing stories in his stand-up routines over the years.

“That’s what we do,” Goldberg said on “The View” about the role of the comedian (via Entertainment Weekly). “That’s what we do, we tell stories and we embellish them.”

“If you’re gonna hold a comic to the point where you’re gonna check up on stories, you have to understand, a lot of it is not the exact thing that happened because why would we tell exactly what happened? It ain’t that interesting,” she also said, adding later, “There’s information that we will give you as comics that will have grains of truth, but don’t take it to the bank. That’s our job, a seed of truth. Sometimes truth and sometimes total BS.”

In a story published by The New Yorker on Sept. 15, Minhaj admitted that several stories he has told in stand-up routines over the years were embellished. One such story involved an anthrax scare his family faced. In his 2022 Netflix comedy special “The King’s Jester,” Minhaj said his daughter came into direct contact with a white powder and had to go to the hospital to make sure it wasn’t anthrax. The comedian admitted that part of the story was not true, although he did have an anthrax scare that his daughter was present in the room for.

In a statement on the matter to Variety, Minhaj said, “All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me. Yes, I was rejected from going to prom because of my race. Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost harmed my daughter. Yes, I had an interaction with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicocele repair surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I roasted Jared Kushner to his face.”

“I use the tools of standup comedy—hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories. That’s inherent to the art form,” he added. “You wouldn’t go to a Haunted House and say ‘Why are these people lying to me?’—The point is the ride. Standup is the same.”

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