Hasan Minhaj performed at the First Interstate Center on Nov. 16.

Hasan Minhaj knows how to command a room, even if that room is a massive theater filled with strangers. 

On Tuesday, Minhaj came to Spokane and performed his new comedy special for a lively crowd at the First Interstate Center for the Arts 

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Minhaj’s new stand-up special, “The King’s Jester,” shifts away from what made him famousthe political and social commentary from his Netflix show called “Patriot Act,” and instead focuses in on his knack for storytelling. 

Minhaj walks the audience through the past several years of his rise to fame and how it has affected him and his family. Discussing topics like his marriage, his children and his own prominence within the entertainment world, the show feels very personal.  

If you are a fan of Minhaj’s work so far, it should be said that this special diverges significantly. Minhaj was praised for his ability on “Patriot Act” to intertwine his personal experiences and satirical personality with a bigger picture — usually a critique of national and worldwide social issues 

But the new comedy special is different. Yes, it’s hilarious, emotional and sometimes very serious, but it doesn’t have the same punch that his earlier content contains.  

To start, the show seems familiar. He throws punches at his strict upbringing and makes jokes about Southeast Asian culture while also telling descriptive, personal anecdotes about the discrimination towards the Muslim community in the early 2000s.  

But as the show goes on, it shifts from his usual mix to a more personalized type of humor. Minhaj himself becomes the center of the stories he tells and of the whole show.  

Minhaj makes it known to the audience that while he is proud of his blatant activism, he can no longer be the one who dangerously calls out government officials and stirs up trouble just for the sake of fameHe admits to being essentially addicted to the attention from the media and the internet, but then slowly shifts into how he realized the side-effects.   

Minhaj’s reason for this shift is entirely respectable. He’s maturing now and, as a father of two, living under public scrutiny has proven to be dangerous for Minhaj.  

To explain, he tells a story. Without giving away too much of his content, he essentially describes an attack targeted at him that ended up significantly affecting his family. Minhaj makes it clear that this event was horrifyingly sobering and reveals a lot of personal feelings and struggles within his marriage.  

The audience was, of course, solemnly attentive and likely realized that Minhaj’s change in style has a good reason.  

In addition to the twists and turns of his content, Minhaj’s use of technology in the show is unique and, quite frankly, genius.  

He utilized a large screen on the back wall of the stage to display pictures and play videos that worked as visual aids in his storytelling. This added an engaging element to the show and brought a bit of “Patriot Act” into his live comedy.  

The stage itself was also lit and changed colors to reflect moods or moments. The graphics team that works with Minhaj surely knows how to make a show feel vibrant and Minhaj knows how to use that stage to his advantage. The show, despite its differences, was thoroughly enjoyable. 

The special will be touring until the end of March 2022, and although an official release date for Netflix streaming has not been announced, Minhaj revealed that it should be sometime early-on in 2022.  

(1) comment

Devin Franke Staff
Devin Franke

I was also at the show. Very cool event. Glad to see it got covered, and there were definitely all types of emotions involved.

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