Whoopi Goldberg Defends Hasan Minhaj: Comedians Only Tell ‘Grains of Truth’

Whoopi Goldberg is standing by fellow comedian Hasan Minhaj after the former “Patriot Act” star admitted to embellishing elements of his autobiographical stand-up sets.

“That’s what we do,” the “View” cohost Goldberg said on the daytime talk show (via Entertainment Weekly). “That’s what we do, we tell stories, and we embellish them.”

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She continued, “If you’re going to hold a comic to the point where you’re going to 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’s not that interesting. There’s information that we will give you as comics that will have grains of truth, but don’t take it to the bank. That’s our job, a seed of truth: sometimes truth and sometimes total B.S.”

Minhaj recently told The New Yorker that his onstage storytelling is “grounded in truth” but is not factually correct. Minhaj confirmed that his comments over being allegedly assaulted by a police officer and revealing his young daughter was hospitalized after an anthrax terrorism scare did not occur.

“No, I don’t think I’m manipulating [the audience],” Minhaj said. “I think they are coming for the emotional rollercoaster ride…To the people that are, like, ‘Yo, that is way too crazy to happen,’ I don’t care because yes, fuck yes — that’s the point.”

After the article was released and subsequently went viral, Minhaj representatives issued a statement to IndieWire: “All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me. 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. Yes, I had an interaction with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicocele repair surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I roasted Jared Kushner to his face. I use the tools of standup 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. Standup is the same.”

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