Whoopi Goldberg stood up for comedian Hasan Minhaj after he admitted to exaggerating his stand-up stories.
“That’s what we do,” Goldberg, 67, explained on a Monday, September 18 episode of The View. “That’s what we do, tell stories and we embellish them. 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.”
Goldberg elaborated: “There’s information that we will give you as comics that will have grains of truth, but don’t take it to the bank,” she joked. “That’s our job, a seed of truth. Sometimes truth and sometimes total BS.”
Minhaj, 37, confessed last week that the stories he tells in his routine are not always rooted in reality.
“Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth,” he said in an interview with The New Yorker that was published on Friday, September 15, and immediately went viral. “My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70% emotional truth — this happened — and then 30% hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
The comedian also added that the stories he tells in his jokes are based on an “emotional truth” even if they didn’t happen to him in the first place. “The punchline is worth the fictionalized premise,” he justified.
The Netflix personality also clarified that he doesn’t think he’s “manipulating” the audience. “I think they are coming for the emotional rollercoaster ride,” Minhaj said. “To the people that are, like, ‘Yo, that is way too crazy to happen,’ I don’t care because yes, f—k yes — that’s the point.”
Several of Minhaj’s most popular fabricated bits came from his 2022 Netflix special, The King’s Jester. During the show, Minhaj recalled receiving an envelope with white powder at his home and said the powder accidentally spilled onto his daughter, who had to be rushed to the hospital. However, he told The New Yorker, his daughter had never been exposed to the white powder, nor did she have to be hospitalized.
In another story, Minhaj shared that he had a crush on a white girl in high school who rescinded her invitation to prom at the last minute. He claimed that he was rejected because her family didn’t want her to be seen with a “brown boy.” (The girl, however, told the outlet that she had turned down Minhaj — a close friend — days before the dance, and claimed that she had been doxxed and harassed online after including her in his routine.)
“All my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me,” Minhaj said in a statement to Variety at the time. “Yes, I was rejected from going to prom because of my race. Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost harmed my daughter. … I use the tools of stand-up comedy — hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories. That’s inherent to the art form. You wouldn’t go to a haunted house and say, ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ The point is the ride. Stand-up is the same.”