At a time when the five biggest names in late-night TV have come together with an unprecedented sense of solidarity, Bill Maher closed out his second new episode since the WGA strike ended by taking down one of his own.
Maher’s final “New Rule” of the night centered on comedian and former Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj and the fabricated stories—told both on stage and off—that a recent New Yorker profile exposed. The host began by equating Donald Trump and the MAGA movement’s conspiracy theories with the left’s “emotional truth.” But he could only really come up with one, or maybe two, examples.
“Which brings me to Hasan Minhaj, the comedian who answers the question, ‘What if Jussie Smollett did stand-up?’” Maher joked.
The fact that “the stories Mr. Minhaj tells in his act to elicit sympathy for himself as a Muslim and a person of color are completely made,” Maher argued, means that perhaps Muslim Americans are facing less discrimination than progressives want you to believe.
After running through the list of stories Minhaj has exaggerated on stage, Maher said, “If you want to speak truth to power, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you have to include the truth part.”
Then, it got personal.
“Because he’s done this before with me,” Maher continued. “Accusing me of saying Muslims should be put in internment camps—something I’ve never come close to thinking, let alone saying.” Maher took his criticism even further by comparing Minhaj to Donald Trump. “How is that different than this guy?” he asked, throwing to the clip of the former president falsely claiming to have seen thousands of people cheering in New Jersey on 9/11.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Minhaj’s distaste for Maher’s Islamophobic tendencies helped land him his gig as Daily Show correspondent under Jon Stewart.
“I think the younger generations have a real problem with wanting to build their identity around being a victim,” Maher added. “They want to have racism to fight—not fight racism, have racism to fight—so badly that when it’s not there, they make it up. And there’s enough real racism in the world that making up more doesn’t help.”
According to Maher, Minhaj “seems to literally feel cheated by progress—the progress that has denied him any good stories about being oppressed by the man,” adding, “Dude, America is far from the worst. You’re a Muslim married to a Hindu. If you were living in India, she’d have to murder you.”
In the weeks since Minhaj was exposed by The New Yorker, he hasn’t elicited much sympathy from the comedy community—and may have even lost out on the coveted Daily Show hosting gig. But if anything could make people feel for Minhaj, it just might be finding himself on the wrong side of Bill Maher.
For more, listen to Hasan Minhaj on The Last Laugh podcast.
The post Bill Maher Goes After Hasan Minhaj: No Better Than Trump appeared first on The Daily Beast.