Hasan Minhaj started doing stand-up sets during college, drawn to comedy by its "radical honesty." "I remember seeing Chris Rock's [special] Never Scared, and I remember him talking about George W. Bush, politics," he told me. "I worked at Safeway at the time...bagging groceries and stuff. Like, I can't talk about this at Safeway, I'll get fired. And that is what I loved about it."
But as Hasan was experimenting with being radically honest on stage about everything from his family to his political beliefs, he says he was being less honest in his personal life. After moving to Los Angeles post-graduation, he says he started lying to his parents, and to his then-girlfriend, Beena, about a lot of things.
Even though he's worked to repair those relationships, Hasan says it can still be tricky to navigate honesty, both on stage and off. On his Netflix show, Patriot Act, Hasan has taken on controversial topics like the elections in India or the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia's involvement in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But sharing his honest opinions on stage can come with serious personal ramifications. "I have a duty to my loved ones and to my family too," he told me. "And figuring out that has been the new challenge for me."