October 4, 2022
“You guys wanna know a secret?”
That’s how Hasan Minhaj, with his signature Jimmy-Neutron-but-make-it-Indian coif and unblinking stare, opens his latest Netflix special, The King’s Jester. The one-hour set, filmed in Brooklyn during his recent comedy tour across the U.S. and Canada, touches on everything from Minhaj’s clashes with the Saudis and having his local mosque infiltrated by an undercover FBI agent to his fertility struggles and his new life as a father. When his wife, Beena Patel, made him promise he would always protect their family, he jokes that he responded, “Of course. I need you…for material.”
Known for his flailing hand gestures, mic-drop moments, and self-described “PowerPoint comedy,” Minhaj rose to fame as a correspondent on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, becoming an overnight sensation after hosting (and roasting at) the 2017 White House correspondents dinner. He’s since released a Netflix special, Homecoming King, sharing his experience growing up as an Indian Muslim kid in America, and helmed the infotainment series Patriot Act, which covered topics ranging from fast fashion to Indian politics. When Netflix canceled Patriot Act in 2020, however, multiple former employees, many of whom were women of color, alleged that the show had a “toxic” work environment. At the time, Minhaj did not address the allegations directly.
Two years later, Minhaj is reflecting on parts of his life with a new perspective. Ahead of his new special, The King’s Jester, which hits Netflix on October 4, we asked Minhaj about his candid style of comedy, his thoughts on the British royal family, and what he learned from the Patriot Act staffers who spoke out.