Hasan Minhaj said he was fired from just about every job he’s had.
Even at OfficeMax, where he said he was “really bad at selling printers.”
“If you’re losing in life, it’s really good for comedy,” he said.
Minhaj spoke about this and more in a moderated conversation with UF journalism master lecturer Mike Foley Tuesday night at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This was the Accent Speakers Bureau’s last show for the 2018-2019 school year and had sold-out to a crowd of more than 1,700 people.
The Indian American comedian, known for being the host and creator of the Netflix comedy show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” was paid $78,000 for the interview.
Minhaj talked about censorship laws and discussed one of his episodes, which was removed from Netflix in Saudi Arabia. The episode talked about the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Foley said, “You pissed off Saudi Arabia” to which Minhaj responded, “No, I didn’t. Just kidding. Yeah, I did.”
“I’ve been advised to not go back to India for a little bit,” Minhaj said. “We’re doing more international stories next cycle. It’s one of those things where safety has become a little bit of an issue now.”
Minhaj also touched on how he got into comedy.
When he was in school, Minhaj said he would tell his dad he was going to the library when he would actually take the car to comedy shows to perform, he said. His dad found out the truth when he crashed the car.
His mom was in on the agreement the whole time, he said.
“My mom is my hero,” Minhaj said. “She has the hustle and ability to think two or three steps ahead. She was one of the first supporters of my career.”
During the 15-minute Q&A session open to the audience, Hasan answered questions on topics ranging from his special “Homecoming King,” to receiving death threats from Saudi Arabia and his favorite meme, which is Kermit the Frog drinking Lipton tea.
One audience member posed a question about backlash Minhaj received from his show’s episode on the murder in Saudi Arabia.
“Yeah, I got trolled,” Minhaj said. “But that stuff comes with the territory.”
Fatima Jarrah, a 20-year-old UF nutritional sciences sophomore, said she has been a fan of Minhaj since seeing his specials on Netflix. She found out about the event through Facebook.
Jarrah, a member of Islam on Campus, enjoyed seeing Minhaj take over the interview, she said.
“He talked about a lot of things we could all relate to, so it was cool to see him here and see us be represented,” Jarrah said.
Hasan Minhaj, a 33-year-old comedian known for his time as a correspondent on “The Daily Show” and his Netflix show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” answers questions Thursday at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Around 1,750 attendees watched Minhaj answer questions asked by UF School of Journalism and Communications professor Mike Foley.