Laughter will shake Pitzer College’s Founders Room this evening as Los
Angeles-based stand-up comedian Hasan Minhaj takes the stage. Pitzer Activities (PAct)
invited Minhaj to perform as a way to diversify the range of cultural events they
plan on campus.
chair Sonal Jessel PZ ’15 spearheaded the committee’s search for a comedian to
bring to campus.
“I don’t really think there is much of a stand-up scene in
Claremont,” Jessel said. “I do, however, think students really enjoy stand-up
and this can be seen through their support for bringing comedians in from the
LA area. We don’t need the most famous comedians like Louis C.K. to perform for
us; there are many other accessible and hilarious comedians available to come
make us laugh.”
considering a collection of local comedians, PAct decided on YouTube
personality and stand-up comedian Minhaj.
“We decided on Hasan Minhaj because we found him to be hilarious and
thought he would be a great fit for the college,” Jessel said.
Minhaj appeared in the newest season of Arrested Development, hosted the MTV
show “Failosophy,” was a panelist on Chelsea Lately, and appeared in the show State of Georgia. He has performed his stand-up act at various famous venues, and addresses subjects like first-world problems, Facebook updates, and going to Kanye West
Minhaj also hosts a viral YouTube show called “The Truth with Hasan
Minhaj,” which uses his South Asian identity and comedy to address political
issues and attacks on minorities. Topics on his show have included reactions to
Jeremy Lin, Sikh temple shootings, and racist PopChips ads. The show has been
posted on websites like The Huffington Post, Gawker, and the Los Angeles Times.
spoke with TSL about his experience performing stand-up.
“I try to be as honest
as possible and I think that resonates with people more than one liners or
jokes,” Minhaj said.
Minhaj said that what first inspired him to
perform stand up comedy was watching Chris Rock’s “Scared Straight” special in
“It changed my life and I never stopped performing after that
moment. It was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen,” he said.
“I think it’s awesome that there
are more South Asians in comedy and just more voices in general. They’re adding
to the landscape and that’s wonderful,” he added when asked about the rise of South Asians in the comedic world, including performers like Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling.
expressed optimism about the impact Minhaj’s performance would have on the
She added that PAct has not planned for other comedians to
visit the campus this year, but hopes this may spark an interest in comedy-based events in the future.
“Laughing is the best thing ever,” Jessel said.
“Not only is it a great stress relief, it’s just fun. It’s a great way to spend
an hour on a Friday night before you go out or work on your homework.”