In a recent episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg passionately defended comedian Hasan Minhaj amidst allegations that some of his stand-up jokes contain embellishments and exaggerations. The discussion on the popular talk show revolved around Minhaj’s storytelling style and his occasional use of creative liberties for comedic effect.
Goldberg, alongside her co-hosts, delved into the nature of comedy, asserting, “That’s what we do. We tell stories, and we embellish them.” She recounted a personal experience when a reporter questioned her about a stand-up routine in which she claimed to have a degree from New York University. Goldberg clarified that she never actually possessed such a degree, but the character in her routine, Fontaine, did. This anecdote illustrated the blurred line between reality and comedic storytelling.
The seasoned comedian emphasized that comedians should not be held to the same fact-checking standards as journalists, as the essence of comedy often involves exaggeration and artistic license. She argued, “If you’re gonna hold a comic to the point where you’re gonna check up on their 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.”
Towards the conclusion of the segment, Goldberg reiterated that many comedic anecdotes have roots in reality but are not meant to be taken at face value. She summed up her perspective by stating, “That’s our job—a seed of truth, sometimes the truth, and sometimes total BS.”
This discussion came in response to a recent report in The New Yorker that raised questions about the accuracy of certain aspects of Hasan Minhaj’s stand-up routines, which could not be independently verified. In response, Minhaj defended his storytelling style, emphasizing that his stand-up comedy incorporates elements of hyperbole, fictionalization, and timeline manipulation to create entertaining narratives. He likened the approach to the experience of visiting a haunted house, where the focus is on the thrill of the ride rather than strict adherence to reality, and he reaffirmed the artistic nature of stand-up comedy.