One of TV’s funniest Muslims, Hasan Minhaj, is getting his own hour-long special for Netflix. It’ll be a special homecoming for Minhaj, who will be filming the one-off stand up show in his hometown of Davis, California. While the premier date has yet to be announced, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King will tackle Minhaj’s experiences as a first generation Indian-American in the States. The 31-year-old media star rose to prominence as a correspondent-comedian on the much-lauded Daily Show (with Jon Stewart and then with Trevor Noah). While he was always one to watch during Jon Stewart’s time, he really began making a name for himself during Trevor Noah’s era. Prior to this, he had already established himself as a voice worthy of an audience through his YouTube show, “The Truth with Hasan Minhaj”. He also featured in the last season of the revived hit series, “Arrested Development”.
Despite his wide comedy credentials, it would be wrong to pigeonhole Minhaj as merely a comic; he majored in political science on his way to graduating from the University of California and starred in the Gates Foundation’s series, “Stand Up Planet”, which attempted to bring focus to issues related to global poverty.
The Netflix special will be based on his off-Broadway theatre show of the same title and earned some rave reviews. The between two cultures experiences of Minhaj will be of particular relevance for first and second generation immigrants, but the show has also been credited for it’s universality too.
Voices like Minhaj are as hard to come by as they are needed in this moment. There’s a reason Vanity Fair’s Laura Bradley wrote that Minhaj’s voice is “the voice late-night needs right now”. Not only is a he a Muslim of talent who is making his presence known within the media that is typically bereft of Muslims, he’s a Muslim featuring on a primetime show. These are the big leagues, and it is comedians who often deliver the most withering and effective critiques of the times, and those in power (see Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Dave Chappelle and so on). And he certainly doesn’t seem to be shying away from the responsibility; his videos taking on Trump and his xenophobic policies have been going viral since Trump’s inauguration. There will be no shortage of comedians who will take on Trump over the coming 4 years, however, given the special focus Trump has given towards Islam and Muslims, having Minhaj on primetime to answer back will be great.
Keep an eye out for the special in the coming months, it promises to be a particularly worthwhile watch.