Is it okay for comedians to lie about their lives as part of their act?
Comedian Hasan Minhaj is at the center of controversy over parts of his act. Minhaj, who grew up as a practicing Muslim in an Indian family, has drawn on aspects of his life for his performances. His storytelling includes descriptions of racist experiences and commentary about social justice. But in a recent piece for the New Yorker, Minhaj acknowledged that many of the stories he has shared are untrue. He stands by the work, telling journalist Clare Malone, “Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth. My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy per cent emotional truth—this happened—and then thirty per cent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
Fellow comedians and fans have mixed feelings about Minhaj’s admission. What do you think? And what does it mean when a public figure embellishes the truth in ways that could defame people who are mentioned in those stories? Our guests discuss it: