Hasan Minhaj gave a stellar performance for the 10th Annual Stand Up for Homes with Hope comedy show. Homes with Hope, the organization Minhaj gave the performance for on Nov. 4 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, is a Westport-based organization that has dedicated the past ten years to ending homelessness in Fairfield County.
Minhaj is an up-and-coming comedian, actor and writer. He’s well-known for his work as a senior correspondent on “The Daily Show,” which he’s been a part of since 2014. Minhaj was also notably chosen to perform at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ dinner and debuted his own comedy special, “Homecoming King” on Netflix in May 2017.
The night began with a short introduction by Jeff Wieser, president and CEO of Homes with Hope and stories from the people who received help from the organization. This would all lead up to an “auction” of sorts where members of the audience had the chance to donate generous sums of money toward Homes with Hope.
Finally, Minhaj took the stage for his act. As a performer, Minhaj is a natural. He was able to connect with his audience by opening with a few light jokes about being in Fairfield and Connecticut. He joked about things like the stereotypes in Fairfield and, at one point, even compared the town to the popular hit television show, “Gilmore Girls.” This allowed him to get on a personal level with most of the people that attended the event before taking a big stab at his major jokes and points.
Most of Minhaj’s comedy is satrical, so there was a heavy focus on making fun of topics that are hot in our country now like inequality and prejudice. Within those categories, Minhaj really focused in on sexism, racism and terrorism. For example, he used Disney princesses as an analogy for all of these things, poking fun at the different characters and bringing them to use in present time.
The topic Minhaj talked about the most was the refugee crisis, especially what’s going on in Syria. He mocked how people are really scared of what these refugees will do, when they aren’t really dangerous at all. Minhaj also satirized the concept of the U.S. being built on this moral idea of being diverse and letting all immigrants alike into the country, when nowadays that doesn’t seem to be the case.
In an interesting twist, Minhaj brought awareness to topics that make so many people uncomfortable nowadays. Personally, I enjoyed the fact he used something he’s good at, humor, to discuss topics everyone needs to consider.
This comedy show also did something unique and that was by giving a presentation to the audience. I haven’t seen a live stand-up show do something like this before, so I was definitely intrigued by it. Minhaj, who was being both satirical and serious at various points throughout this, presented the audience with graphics, statistics and interviews he’s given on the “Daily Show” to help prove his points. In particular, this was seen when he showed statistics he had a mathematician calculate about the probability, which is very low, of someone being killed in a terrorist attack. He brought this back to the discussion of the travel ban and poked fun at how ridiculous the whole thing actually is. The way Minhaj carried out his performance was almost like a homage to his normal gig on the “Daily Show” since the show tends to be formated in the same way.
Minhaj also addressed the fact that not everyone in the audience would agree with what he had to say, but he gave his opinion and the audience respected that.
He ended his performance with a quick Q&A, where he answered some questions from the audience with a mix of humor and inspiring remarks about what it’s like being from an Indian immigrant family in the United States.
Overall, Minhaj gave an interesting, hilarious and compelling performance. As a comedian in this day and age, where tension in politics has never been higher, Minhaj was able to shed a humorous and satirical light on topics we’re all trying to figure out ourselves.