Minhaj lights up Night of Comedy

Minhaj satirizes current world issues to students’ amusement. (Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor)
Minhaj satirizes current world issues to students’ amusement. (Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor)

By Gianna Melilo
Copy Editor

Touching on topics like immigration, the refugee crisis, terrorism and racism, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent Hasan Minhaj graced his audience in Kendall Hall with a politically charged comedy show co-hosted by the College Union Board and the Muslim Student Association on Friday, Feb. 2.

Joking about timely political issues, Minhaj’s set intertwined current events with a running commentary of his experiences as a Muslim-American.

The crowd roared with laughter and applauded as Minhaj talked about his experience working on “The Daily Show.”

At one point, while talking about a trip to the Mexican-American border and viewing various prototypes for President Donald Trump’s wall, Minhaj referred to the different constructions as the “Goldilocks of racism.”

The audience was stunned when Minhaj said that when out on assignment for “The Daily Show,” “the best stuff doesn’t even make it on camera.”

He recounted a story to the audience about a trip to Alabama, where it costs around 10 dollars to obtain a conceal and carry permit for a gun. When Minhaj went into a gun shop with cameras to purchase a weapon, he recounted the clerk refusing to sell him one because “(he) could be in ISIS.”

In addition to recounting stories about his time on “The Daily Show,” Minhaj asked the crowd if it’s “alright if I test out some stuff for a new program” to which he received tremendous approval.

Minhaj’s first stand-up special “Homecoming King” is available now on Netflix.

Accompanying Minhaj on the stage was a screen on which various graphics, pictures and videos appeared periodically throughout the show.

Flashes of newscasts from Fox News and Alex Jones’ “Infowars” lit up the screen, chronicling the organizations’ responses to Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

“It’s like the brown-walkers are coming,” Minhaj said, referencing the show “Game of Thrones.”

On a more serious note, Minhaj elaborated on the double standards news organizations have when covering terrorist attacks.

Minhaj discussed racial profiling and referred to the phrase “lone wolf” that is often used to describe a white perpetrator of violence. He pointed out how people of color are more likely to be referred to as terrorists than white people.

In response, Minhaj joked, “How is every crazy white dude part wolf? How are they all Team Jacob?”

Pulling up charts depicting the most common causes of death in the U.S., Minhaj pointed out that Americans are more likely to die from a furniture accident than they are from foreign terrorism.

He then joked, “Ikea counts as both.”

Meghan Bedard, a sophomore Spanish and communication studies double major, was excited for Minhaj’s highly-anticipated visit to the College.

“I watched his White House Correspondents’ Dinner and I thought it was the funniest thing ever,” Bedard said.

Minhaj ended his nearly hour-long set by taking questions from the crowd. Some audience members inquired how Minhaj handles hecklers and racists at his shows, while others asked how he got started in comedy.

Minhaj credited his skills in part to doing speech debate in high school. When asked what he went to college for, Minhaj replied, “I started off as pre-med.”

He paused while the crowd roared. He then smiled and said, “That failed.”

Throughout his set, Minhaj worked to shatter stereotypes Muslims commonly face in American society — a concept MSA was happy to share with the campus community.

“It was like a dream come true, and kind of a graduation gift,” said Kanza Tahir, president of MSA and a senior biology major. “A lot of people were anticipating this event and asking us when he would come.”

With a track record that includes T.J. Miller, B.J. Novak and now Minhaj, the bar is set high for the next comedian to light up Kendall Hall at the College’s spring comedy show.