The Daily Illini

Hasan Minhaj, comedy king, performs at Illini Union

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Hasan Minhaj (left) answers questions from the Q&A session during his performance at the Illini Union (left). Minhaj answers students’ questions at a private meet and greet after the performance (top). Students line up at the Illini Union, awaiting Hasan Minhaj’s performance (bottom). The comedian, aside from doing standup, has been in several films.

Hasan Minhaj (left) answers questions from the Q&A session during his performance at the Illini Union (left). Minhaj answers students’ questions at a private meet and greet after the performance (top). Students line up at the Illini Union, awaiting Hasan Minhaj’s performance (bottom). The comedian, aside from doing standup, has been in several films.

Patrick Li

Patrick Li

Hasan Minhaj (left) answers questions from the Q&A session during his performance at the Illini Union (left). Minhaj answers students’ questions at a private meet and greet after the performance (top). Students line up at the Illini Union, awaiting Hasan Minhaj’s performance (bottom). The comedian, aside from doing standup, has been in several films.

By Sam Schrage, Staff Writer

Over 1,000 students stood in line for hours on Monday to see comedian Hasan Minhaj perform at the Illini Union.

Minhaj is most known for his role as a senior correspondent at “The Daily Show” and his performance at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Minhaj also wrote and starred in his own comedy film, “Homecoming King,” available for streaming on Netflix.

As the spotlight lit up the stage, the crowd went wild, screaming and chanting his name in anticipation. Minhaj stepped up onto the stage and smiled at the audience, waving his hand at a sea of fans.

Aside from Minhaj’s stand-up comedy, he has also appeared in several movies, including “Rough Night” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me,”  set to premiere in July.

Minhaj’s performance included stories from his life and travels. He also previewed material for his upcoming Netflix show.

His set combined comedy and politics to bring awareness to some of the most relevant issues in American society today, including immigration and terrorism stigmas. Minhaj also did a Q&A for the audience members, several of which jokingly asked him on dates.  

The event was filled to capacity at 1,000 students. Many students were even turned away at the door and resorted to peeping through  the windows to hear the comedian’s famed jokes. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Illini Union Board and the Society of Professional Journalists.

“Personally, I relate to him so much because I was born in India and my family is from India, so he understands brown families and he’s totally that person you can relate to,” said Riya Shah, freshman in DGS, “I was really excited to see his show and meet him, and it was a really fun experience.”

Shah is also on the marketing committee for the Illini Union Board and helped promote the event across campus and on social media.

Dixie Limbachia, junior in Media, is the director of the enriching programs on the Illini Union Board. Limbachia did a large portion of the event-planning, with help from her committee members. She also came up with the idea of bringing Minhaj to the University.

“I wanted to bring someone who is inspiring to people, and I remember when I first saw his Correspondents’ speech,” Limbachia said. “Myself, my peers, professors, faculty and friends all agreed that this was someone who’s new and bringing new ideas and voices to people who don’t get a chance to talk.”

Limbachia was particularly inspired by Minhaj’s discussion of immigration stigmas and his ability to unapologetically embrace his culture.

“It’s kind of dangerous to talk out loud about being a minority, and he had no problem doing that,” Limbachia said. “I love that about him. I knew we had to bring some of that to UIUC, and I’m so glad that I did because I feel like a lot of people in the audience, and myself included, were very inspired.”

Looking back, Limbachia is most proud she could bring someone people could relate to and she was able to make connections with other RSOs on campus while doing so. Minhaj’s performance was the perfect balance of comedy and about bringing awareness to social change.

“It’s an amazing feeling not just because we were able to pull off an amazing lecture, but because I was able to make a connection with SPJ and get committee members to be more involved,” Limbachia said. “Watching that Facebook page blow up day after day was the best feeling,  because I knew that students on campus wanted change, and I’m glad I was able to provide that platform for them to be inspired.”

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