What's it about?
Follow Hasan Minhaj through his journey of being a first-generation Indian American.
What'd I experience?
I’ve gone from seeing shows during Joaquin to now Post Jonas, so I felt like the ultimate survivor. A warrior even. Rain and snow couldn’t stop me. I was invincible.
I made my way to the theater and got ready to laugh. I’ve seen some of Hasan’s skits before, so I knew I was going to have a good time, and I did laugh. I laughed quite often throughout the show, but looking back, I found that I was much more focused on the rollercoaster ride that was his story and the lessons he learned. Not only that. I was focused on the journey of getting to know Hasan as well. I felt like we went through every stage of friendship from first meeting each other to the deeper things. I was getting to see the REAL Hasan that few saw, and I connected with that.
He started his show on the topic of his parents. He spoke about how they met and threw a few jokes in there too. He compared their "how they met" story to swiping right at a tinder profile with no picture, which had me in tears. That sounded pretty accurate to me.
He spent a large portion of his childhood with his father, while his mother pursued a degree in India. She would occasionally visit them in the States, but it was clear that it effected Hasan. He mentioned a memory that felt heart wrenching to me. He spoke about how, during one of her visits, she brought him a Ghostbusters toy, which made him popular at school. He then acknowledged that the toy made him temporarily happy, but what he truly wanted was time with his mother. To be with his mother. To have her home. And that was what I really loved. Those moments of depth and realization. That growth into who he was today.
Hasan then told a story about his experiences in school. He started with the first girl he ever liked, a girl in his third grade class. How he mustered up the courage to ask her out, only to be rejected because of the color of his skin. It had such a huge impact on him that during an assignment on what he wanted to be, he wrote,” I want to be white.” My heart sank hearing that. It’s such a heartbreaking thing to hear and experience, especially at such a young age. I’ve experienced that racism first-hand at a young age as well, so it was difficult to see it again and feel powerless from preventing that experience, especially for him.
The racism didn’t stop there. Hasan later fell in love with a girl named Bethany. The two started out as friends, which slowly developed into more. Bethany asked Hasan to prom, and he accepted. He was willing to sneak out and suffer the consequences to spend prom with the girl of his dreams. Those dreams, however, quickly got crushed when he went to pick up Bethany. She was with another classmate of his, and her mother explained that they liked him, but what will people think? A phrase that chased him throughout life. Log kya sochenge. What will people think?
The conversation ended with his career path. How he used to go to comedy clubs and test out his skits. How he gradually made his way to headlining Gotham Comedy Club, but that phrase was always in the back in his mind. Log kya sochenge. What will people think? He had to become a famous comedian. Anything less wasn’t an option, and he didn’t disappoint. He received the recognition he deserved on a project he did with producer Norman Lear. Norman spoke to Hasan’s father, telling him that Hasan was trying his best. The best he could do. That he was making his way in the world and that he would change it. This was the happy ending I was hoping for, and Hasan said it best, “I don’t need a cosigner for my American Dream.” He no longer cared about log kya sochenge.