It’s the second year for stand-up comic Hasan Minhaj, who will debut his second Netflix stand-up special. The King’s Fool. A man of many titles, comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor and TV host – Minhaj is now blessed with the role of fatherhood.
Similar to his first special, king of homecoming, the comedian returns to the stage to share his latest life update with the audience. In his 2017 stand-up special, Minhaj introduced himself and his newly married wife, Beena Patel, to the world. Now in The King’s Foolhe introduces himself to the crowd as a different man again after they make their journey to parenthood and superstardom.
Under, The daily News Alum opens up about the impact these past few years have had on him — particularly after becoming a father, the success of his political talk show The Patriot Actand ultimately develop as a person.
The set begins with “My balls are busted,” meaning you thought you couldn’t have children. It’s not easy to admit, it’s very personal. How did you go about formatting this difficult moment into a joke that resonates with the crowd?
Hasan Minhai: For me, one of the things I love most about comedy, about great comedy, is that act of confession. And whenever I put together a new lesson or show, it all starts with what thoughts, feelings, and actual events have happened to me that I’d be too afraid to admit in public. And the fertility journey that my wife and I have been through has been really painful and really embarrassing, especially as a man. It’s something I haven’t told my family about, and I didn’t want to tell my friends. And then my wife and I got to a point where, thank God, we were able to get through this together. And indeed, comedy became a kind of tool, a way for me to like, laugh at, and get through this painful thing. And hopefully when I talk about it, I find humor in it, I take this thing that’s very heated — and it can be really hard on marriages and couples — hopefully people could see my humanity and the humanity of my family. And hopefully it makes their journey a little bit easier too.
I think so. And happy birthday to your family, man.
Many Thanks. Many Thanks. It was… it was something we didn’t know, you know, we’ve been through it all. We’ve gone through all the possible permutations of it. Rightly so we considered adopting a baby… I think starting from a point where I’m going to analyze myself and talk about the things I’ve been struggling with, as the British say, fuck off then I can making fun of other things too, I think that gives you license to do so.
Did you find the transition from a ‘married man’ to a ‘dad guy’ in your sets difficult, or were you used to opening up about life experiences?
Yeah, you know, what’s really interesting, I’m 37, I just turned 37 a week ago, and one of the things that I’ve realized is that I started performing stand-up when I was 18. So the person I was when I first started out, I was literally like a little boy who had just left the house, not knowing who he was, experiencing things for the first time. The first kiss, the first love, the first time holding hands, all these things were so new. Who I am now is a completely different person, and it’s through writing and performing that you kind of figure out who you are.
That’s the art form of comedy, because you’re expressing something that’s inside you, and the audience kind of scrutinizes you. So when I look back at my notes and see how the number unfolded, I think it’s good. I think I’ve grown as a comedian and as a person. And I’m just trying to bring people into my life and talk about hopefully specific things that I see as specific experiences that I’ve had in my life. But I think they are universal; Fertility, fatherhood, freedom of speech, what to say, what not to say, the price we all pay for certain choices we’ve made in our lives and how it goes with trying to improve careers and families have, is reconciled.
How has becoming a father changed the way you approach your career and comedy? Or hasn’t it?
I think being a father and being a husband are probably the two most important things that have shaped my life. When I came up I was between 18 and 30 and I got married when I was 30. It was really the case that I definitely have to progress. For example, I need to earn enough money to have my own apartment, have health insurance… But the struggle and rush was just the result…
Having my kids in my life has really made me think about my life as a whole and what I mean by that is that just what I do for a living isn’t all that I am. And to be successful in that, the idea of success or winning is all this experience. It’s not an hour that I’m crushing on stage. That’s not how I determine whether I’m successful or not. It’s the whole of my life. What do my children think of me? What does my wife think of me? …Having her made me realize the comes first… The speed at which news changes, they’ll forget your viral clip or article in no time. I need to be with people who care more about me than the effing feed algorithm. [That’s] the really existential thing I’ve been working on and coming to terms with The King’s Fool.
You get officially invited to swanky Hollywood parties, get all that social media exposure, and pissed off some big people in big places. Do you worry about how frightening that other side of success can be?
One of the things I spoke about on the show that I’m ashamed of, but I think it was important to talk about, was that there were moments when I did the right thing for the wrong reasons. So let’s say we call out [Jared] To Kushner’s face, I think in and of itself what I did was right, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t react to the fact that there was a camera. And I knew it would show up on Twitter with the blue tick and people would quote it and then the algorithm would feed it and make it happen, you know? … One of the things that [my wife] Beena called me, “It’s funny how you only care about these issues when there’s a camera on you.” …And that’s what I give her a lot of credit for, because she’s not really that into the social media is, and the people who love her love her for the actual true quality of her character, not what she signals.
Since The Patriot Act In the end, you seem to have focused more on your political involvement and some acting, in addition to standup. What can we expect from you afterwards?
So The King’s Fool now streaming on Netflix. I started a production company called 186K Films. This is one of our first projects and then we go into pre-production on a film that I’m writing and starring in For the culture. I’m very glad about that, [[it’s] about the competitive world of college Bollywood dance. Yeah, well, hard pivot from snarky social commentary and political comedy to just… ratchet college Bollywood dance.
What do you have on your feet in the special? Some sandy looking ACGs, but I bet they’re not.
You know what? These are John Elliot desert boots and they are amazing. You are beautiful man. You are really beautiful. Yes I believe they are still on the site. […] But just so you know, don’t believe what you see on TV, you have to give it all back, yes.
Hasan Minhaj: The King’s FoolPremieres Tuesday, October 4th, Netflix