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” Yeah, they’d see like 100 people every day, but we’re also 100 human beings. He’s constructing an argument for this, against this, for that, against Bush.” In that moment, it just clicked for me. It was the first time I’d ever seen drug and alcohol abuse. Molly, who booked the club, said, “You can open for Russell.” There was a crazy line that night — like, the whole immigrant population of Nor Cal was there. You know how when you’re nervous to meet someone who you’ve looked up to or is really famous? There’s one booth in the club that has a direct view of the stage.
It’s actually pretty cool — I met so many comedians in SF who are doing amazing work today. He’s being critical of the government, he’s talking about social issues, he’s taking a position on marriage. I think I have an affinity for it.” So then I just started sneaking out of the house and driving out to San Francisco to do stand-up comedy. You’d go to perform and anybody and everybody would perform. You’re an Indian kid who did speech and debate and went to UC Davis … I want to convince people about political realities.” That’s a pretty principled way of looking at comedy. But I also saw some of the most interesting perspectives, and what was cool was it made me question, in a good way, a lot of the norms and identity things I was working through. Even though he’s technically one of the most successful comics in the world, by the numbers. I was at the Sacramento Punchline, which is the local club near where I live, around maybe 2007 or 2008. They can’t just come.” He goes up to the manager and says, “Yeah, Hasan’s parents want to come to the show.
Minhaj is free and open about his identity (his family also happens to be Muslim), a sign of shifting winds for brown people in entertainment, who’ve long faced limiting expectations both inside and outside their communities. But I have friends who live there, and they actually have Indian neighbors. The Indian homes are sort of different from everyone’s, of course. I’ll use stand-up as an example: If you look at what Pryor and Cosby did, they opened the doors for Rock and Chappelle.I don’t know if it’s a product of the choices were making or if we’re just riding a wave in history that we don’t know we’re riding. I think about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, I was lucky that I got placed in that moment.Sure, I said what I wanted to say up there, but there’s all these variables that weren’t in my control.Larry now is birthing so many amazing shows like , these subtle nuances within the black experience.What Russell did, which allowed Mindy to exist, I think their fingerprints will be seen in the next generation which allows more specificity to be there.