Feeling All The Things

September 13, 2016

This past weekend, I had one of the best and most surreal experiences of my life. I attended a show by one of my favorite comedians — and one of my celebrity crushes, I’ll admit. Hasan Minhaj was here in Minneapolis performing his “Homecoming King” stand-up tour and I got to meet him afterward.

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Hasan Minhaj is currently a senior correspondent on The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Seeing him for that reason alone was incredibly exciting. Watching The Daily Show became a nightly ritual for me years ago. Every time my sister and I visited our grandparents, we’d all be sitting together at 10:00 watching “The Best F#@king News Team” joke about the goings-on in the world. I was hooked at a young age on the comedy and political satire of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.

As a Muslim Indian-American, Hasan Minhaj has been able to provide an eye-opening perspective in his news coverage, as well as his comedy routine. “Homecoming King” primarily focuses on how his heritage and ethnicity impacted his upbringing and social life. He told heartwarming and hilarious stories that made me laugh until my cheeks hurt, as well as heartbreaking anecdotes about his encounters with racism that made me sick to my stomach.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the show was the fact that there were many stories Hasan told that I couldn’t relate to. (As a Caucasian female from rural Wisconsin, I’ll admit I had a pretty sheltered upbringing.) And it’s for this very reason that I felt those stories were the most important ones to hear. Getting a glimpse into someone else’s life like this is what allows us to sympathize and empathize, as well as take a critical look at how we perceive the world.

What was initially an exciting trip to a comedy show became an invaluable experience in regards to cultural understanding. When I stepped into that theater Saturday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than some good laughs. As Hasan’s set came to an end, though, and we gave our final applause, I was left feeling a huge range of emotions. Above all else, an appreciation that he shared those stories with us.