Whoopi Goldberg came to Hasan Minhaj’s defense after the comic admitted he’d embellished some of the stories in his standup sets over the years.
Goldberg was on “The View” when she addressed the topic, saying, “That’s what we do.”
“That’s what we do, we tell stories and we embellish them,” she said of comedy.
Goldberg continued, saying that original stories are usually “not that interesting,” so comics have a right to exaggerate on stage.
“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 said.
Goldberg added, “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.”
A New Yorker piece published last week explored Minhaj’s approach to comedy and raised questions about some harrowing stories in his sets
“Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth,” Minhaj told the publication. “My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70% emotional truth — this happened — and then 30% hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
In his special “The King’s Jester,” for example, Minhaj recalls rushing his young daughter to the hospital for possible anthrax exposure after receiving an envelope with white powder in it at their home.
Minhaj admitted to The New Yorker that while he did receive an envelope with white powder, his daughter was never exposed to it or hospitalized.
In a statement to Variety, Minhaj said, “All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me.”
“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 said. “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.”