Whoopi Goldberg defends Hasan Minhaj’s embellished jokes

Comedians embellish stories for a punchline – and that’s the nature of comedy, according to Whoopi Goldberg.

“The View” The host came to the defense of “Patriot Act” star Hasan Minhaj on Monday, explaining that in comedy, sometimes the ends justify the means.

Minhaj, 37, was the subject of debate last week for occasionally exaggerating harrowing experiences for laughs, further fueling the debate that Goldberg had to address on the ABC talk show.

The “Ghost” Oscar winner, who started out as a stand-up comedian, explained that comedians have to exaggerate what’s happening to them to reward the audience.

“[Minhaj] Recently had to somehow defend his comedy because an author from the New Yorker called on him to make up stories,” Goldberg said. “That’s what we do. That’s what we do. We tell stories and then embellish them.”

The Color Purple and Sister Act star recalled how a reporter recently tried to fact-check whether she had a degree from New York University (which she didn’t) and walked away with it according to a claim she made on stage in the late 1980s as her stand-up character Fontaine (who claimed he did).

“Listen: If you’re going to take a comic to the point where you’re reviewing their stories,” Goldberg said, “you have to understand that a lot of it isn’t exactly what happened, because why should that be?” We tell exactly what happened? It’s not that interesting.”

The “Till” star and her co-hosts actually agreed, explaining that sometimes you have to suspend disbelief for entertainment.

“There is information that we give you as comics that contains a grain of truth. But, you know, don’t take it to the bank,” Goldberg said.

Her position was similar to that of Minhaj, who made headlines last week after the New Yorker found that parts of his actions were either untrue or could not be verified. The “Daily Show” alum, who often opens up about his experiences as an Asian and Muslim American in his role, is reportedly set to fill in for former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.

Minhaj immediately released a statement in his defense – and also in defense of the American comedy that existed evolving rapidly in the wake of #MeToo, cultural sensitivities and technological advances.

The King’s JesterThe star said his performance was embellished but was rooted in “emotional truth.”

“I use the tools of standup comedy – exaggeration, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories. “It’s the nature of this art form,” he responded to the article in a statement to the Times. “You wouldn’t go into a haunted house and say, ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ The point is the ride. It’s the same thing standing up.”

He also said that the punchline was worth the fictional premise.

“Every story in my style is based on a kernel of truth,” Minhaj said. “My Arnold Palmer comedy is 70% emotional truth — that’s what happened — and then 30% exaggeration, exaggeration, fiction,” he told the New Yorker.

Goldberg reiterated this at the end of “The View” segment: “That’s our job. A “Seed of Truth.” Sometimes [it’s] the truth and sometimes [it’s] Total nonsense.”

Times staff writer Emily St. Martin contributed to this story.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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