Hasan Minhaj

Exclusive: Hasan Minhaj Brings Friends to Netflix is a Joke Festival & Addresses Being Canceled

Last night, Hasan Minhaj hosted one of the most impressive drop-in shows we’ve ever seen at Netflix is a Joke Festival. That’s a pretty high bar, but Hasan and Friends managed to put on a show worth remembering. It was a revolving door of headliner after headliner. At the end, Minhaj addressed the elephant in the room: The New Yorker article that got him in hot water.

Things started off with Minhaj’s opener, Cipha Sounds, who effectively warmed up the diverse and significantly youthful crowd. The general age range was under 30, so Sounds implored the crowd not to get offended by anything. He then brought out Minhaj, who did a quick 5 minutes about having Ashley Biden at one of his shows - and why he wishes it was Hunter - and on Zillow. 

From there, Minhaj brought out the first drop-in, Tim Dillon. Dillon may be a big draw, but he did have his work cut out for him when it came to this particularly crowd. There are two types of comedians: Ones who care deeply about winning over an audience and those who genuinely don’t care. Dillon is the latter. His set ranged from Ozempic to not knowing how to fix the Middle East to TikTok. He did end up showing off his impressive crowd work chops with a few people in the crowd. It was definitely a strong start for what was to come. 

If Dillon is the comedian that seemingly doesn't care about winning over a crowd, Bert Kreischer is at the opposite end of that spectrum. He came out - taking off his shirt, per usual - and talked about losing weight, how Hasan is his daughter’s favorite comedian, phone sex with his wife, and visiting the Anne Frank house. Like Dillon, Kreischer couldn’t help but address that this wasn’t his usual audience. The Machine killed it, though, and had a pretty solid finish. 

The strong lineup of comedy heavyweights continued. Next up was Zainab Johnson with a short set where she kicked things off by talking about buying a house. This was followed by Nikki Glaser, who did a large chunk on depression, why she wants to stay alive, and aging. Both Johnson and Glaser seemed to be having a pretty great time playing off the crowd, with Glaser especially getting the room on her side by the end of her set. 

Next up was Ms. Pat. If you’ve never seen Ms. Pat before, there’s little that can prepare you for what you’re about to witness. After starting off by talking about being bored being married and getting older, she played off the energy in the room, starting with making it clear she wasn’t there to be heckled. She got particularly friendly with a white guy in the front row named Brad, who she managed to get to do a complete 180 from his shock at the start of her set. Ms. Pat didn’t come to mess around, closing with why she can’t date a younger guy and having a gay daughter. She also told the crowd the story of how she got her nipple shot off, just to get their reaction. It worked. They definitely reacted to that one.

Finally, Ronny Chieng was brought up, to much enthusiasm from the crowd. That’s really not too surprising, given The Daily Show connection between Minhaj and Chieng. Minhaj introduced him as someone he hated, though, just to set the wheels in motion of what’s to come. What ended up happening was nothing short of spectacular. 

Chieng started off by talking about loving America and his MAGA friend. He then segued into talking about cancelling, saying “Cancelling isn’t what it used to be,” calling out Minhaj directly. Minhaj started heckling him before rising out of the crowd and joining Chieng onstage for a heated 15 minutes of back-and-forth. It didn’t take long for things to turn to the New Yorker article. 

Without getting into it too much here, the article in question called out Minhaj for largely embellishing certain aspects of his act, which Minhaj did end up apologizing for. As he jumped onstage, Minhaj accused Chieng of leaking the story to the publication. “Who the fuck fact-checks stand-up comedy?” Minhaj asked. “Only Ronny Chieng would set me up with some fucking mouth-breathing journalist. It was you.”

They talked about their history and having an office right next to each other, before they segued over to the fact that Minhaj was next in line to host the iconic Comedy Central show. That was before the article leaked last fall, and they went back to the drawing board. With no host selected, they opted to bring back Jon Stewart once a week, which served as a major bump for the franchise.  “We’ve all failed in our lives, but have you ever failed so bad, you bring back Jon Stewart?” he continued. “I saved a dying institution. You’re welcome.”

Obviously, their heated exchange was all for show. But it wound up being an impressive end to an already stacked show. This was the first of many upcoming drop-in shows at Netflix. If this was any indication, you won’t want to miss out! Tickets can be found here.

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