Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head (2023) – Review and Summary

Hasan Minhaj, thanks to locking up people’s phones, gets to be free to speak not only about that New Yorker article but also about race, politics (like Hunter Biden), and the experience of being a Muslim-Indian American.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Summary

Sabeen Sadiq

The only clean set of the night belongs to Sabeen, whose topics usually revolve around being a Muslim woman who was raised conservatively but has adopted some liberal ways to be social. For example, she talks about the challenge of starting off and telling her mom what she does. Sabeen goes into the challenges of dating, especially men, and getting them to commit, alongside being an aunt to young ladies who are gothic in a Muslim family.

Ismael Loutfi

You can tell by what Ismael says that he wrote for “Patriot Act” during his set. His comedy is in line with Hasan’s but a little more risqué. There is a 9/11 joke in there that no one could do without causing moans and groans from the audience. Yet, Loutfi, similar to Hasan in ways, knows how to deliver a joke without it seeming like he is fishing for controversy. Especially since, like with many comedians, there is nothing to get mad about if you understand the context. Like, the context for his 9/11 joke is how various ethnic groups, whether it is Italians, the Irish, and others, have found a way to spin different things in their culture, like the mob, and get to joke about it, and even have it accepted in American society. However, the possibility of Muslims getting to do the same… well, hence the joke.

Hasan Minhaj

The headliner, Hasan Minhaj, at least to my surprise, didn’t have any screens on stage. It seems that was a different era, and now he is back to basics. Whether it is the topic of Hunter Biden, who is the main person he speaks about regarding politics (though there is a joke/shout out to Vivek Ramaswamy) to addressing the New Yorker article, Minhaj has uncomplicated his set. No longer is he walking the tightrope between comedian and news reporter. Though, he does enjoy poking fun at the idea anyone would take a comedian’s set as the God-honest truth.

With that said, there aren’t many “Straight From The Headlines” topics in his set. Yes, he addresses the situation in Palestine/Gaza briefly, but it is mostly personal stuff, whether it is his relationship with his wife, his parents, therapy, or Indian culture. However, the spicy bits, which make him glad everyone’s phones are locked up, are when he pushes back against political correctness and self-righteousness.

Naturally, the New Yorker article and the woman who wrote it, Clare Malone, who is never named, seems to inspire the need to call out types of people. Never in a way that can feel like he is punching down, but definitely fighting back, as seen in his response video to The New Yorker article posted on his YouTube channel. Beyond that, he addresses racism amongst Indian and Asian cultures, certain toxic traits, and just the audacity some have.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Hasan has once again employed Yondr pouches (to lock up your phone and devices), so prepare to bring a book, a friend, or something to keep you entertained as you wait for the show to start.

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Positive (See Live)Recommended

Notable Performances or Moments

The Openers Didn’t Feel Like They Countered The Headliner

For nearly every stand-up show I’ve been to, the opener seems to be the opposite of the headliner. Whether it is culturally, they are a clean comic compared to the headliner being raunchy, or just the topics chosen, the opener often seemed out of place and like counter-programming. That isn’t the case here.

Everyone here is speaking about the immigrant experience, being Muslim, or at least non-Christian, and navigating America’s madness. Now, does Sabeen bring something different because she is a woman? Yes. But it doesn’t feel drastically different. Yes, she is cleaner, and her topics don’t veer towards anything that can be considered controversial, but she fits. She is the warm-up to get you ready to laugh before Ismael tests what you’re willing to laugh at. Hasan brings it all together by just as much talking about family as much as he says someone should trick Joe Biden into doing cocaine so he can seem more engaged.

Highlights

With The Phones Away, Hasan Will Play

Yes, people like me and others can tell you what Hasan said during his set, but with no video evidence, and it still being early in his tour (it goes on until June 2024), he doesn’t have to commit to a joke. Once it is out there, he can modify it, get rid of it, double down, or pick and choose which audience will hear it. But the fact that he felt free enough to say something he thought could be controversial helps you understand why comedians hate phones and other recording devices.

Never mind people recording and giving away your set for free, even though many give away their set on social media. It also means there is a level of accountability that is stifling. Which, don’t get me wrong, Hasan acknowledges his platform and what he does with it. Hence, he has two Muslim comedians as openers, including a woman. But at the same time, controversy when it comes to comedy only happens when people who aren’t your audience don’t understand the context and are looking for something to complain about.

So, could Hasan talking about how one culture or race hates another be seen as controversial? Could someone see his comedy as stereotypical or making fun of his people? Yeah, if you don’t have a sense of humor and don’t feel in on the joke. But if that’s the case, why are you watching stand-up? Especially of someone who isn’t new and you could easily know the vibe of by checking out clips legally available?

Hasan’s Crowd Work

Like most comedians, Hasan isn’t trying to talk for roughly an hour and make the whole event a one-way thing. He engages with the audience not only for jokes but also for relatability. He opens up talking about the financial diversity, how there are poor and rich in the audience, and finds the perfect couple who work in finance. They are used when he talks about therapy, bitcoin, etc.

But, of course, there are those in the balcony who want to join in the fun, and he gets them involved too. Whether it was an uncle who became the fodder for Hasan, regarding how men won’t admit they are wrong, or a young lady who made it clear she thought no questions were rhetorical, who he engaged with. Note: He also had to shut her down and remind her who had the microphone, but it was done professionally, not to the point of embarrassing or picking on her. Beyond using her as an example of why Americans’ love of dogs is beyond ridiculous,

Who Is This For?

Not only fans of Hasan Minhaj but also those who love comedy from the perspective of someone who knows or was raised in American culture but feels othered by it or has enough knowledge of what else is out there that they find aspects of it strange. All while acknowledging that what they grew up with wasn’t necessarily plain and simple either.

General Information

Tour Poster Hasan Minhaj Off With His Head

This section includes information about the production, cast, staff, venue, and crew.

Director(s)

To Be Determined

Writer(s)

Sabeen Sadiq, Ismael Loutfi, Hasan Minhaj

Language

English

Attendance Type

Offline – In Person

Event Status

On Schedule

Venue or Network (Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre: Basie Center Campus)

99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, New Jersey

Performance Date

November 25, 2023

First Performance At This Venue

November 25, 2023

Opening Night Performance

November 25, 2023

Last Performance At This Venue

November 26, 2023

Venue URL

https://thebasie.org/events/hasan-minhaj-off-with-his-head/

Tickets Beyond Dates At Basie Center

https://www.hasanminhaj.com/#tickets

Tickets Starting At

$49.50

Genre(s)

Stand Up Comedy

Duration

1 Hour 30 Minutes

Noted Performers

Self

Sabeen Sadiq

Self

Ismael Loutfi

Self

Hasan Minhaj

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing Throughout, Starting With Ismael’s Set
  • Violence: Jokes about violence
  • Sexual Content: Nothing Notable
  • Miscellaneous: Lots of jokes about race, culture, White people, and political correctness

Recommendations

If you like this, we recommend:

  1. Ali Wong: Live (2023)
  2. Mo Gilligan: Momentum
  3. Pat at The Stress Factory

Check out our Live Performance page for our latest reviews and recommendations.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Are you for or against having your phone locked up at live events?
  2. What do other people think is a controversial comedian who you don’t think is controversial at all?
  3. How do you feel about opening acts, and how many are too many?

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Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head (2023) – Review

Summary

As of now, the “Off With His Head” tour feels like the most cohesive stand-up stop I’ve seen. The opening acts aligned with the headliner, and the headliner came out swinging while staying true to his shtick – minus an abundance of technology. I’d even say, of all the stand-up I’ve seen, this perhaps was one of the few times, even without hard laughter for myself, where I’d say the ticket price was worth it to see the set early. Which is saying something since this is the second time I’ve seen Hasan Minhaj live.

Overall
85%
85%
  • The Openers Didn't Feel Like They Countered The Headliner - 89%
    89%
  • With The Phones Away, Hasan Will Play - 83%
    83%
  • Hasan's Crowd Work - 83.5%
    84%

Highlight(s)

  • Hasan’s Crowd Work
  • With The Phones Away, Hasan Will Play
  • The Openers Didn’t Feel Like They Countered The Headliner

Disputable

  • N/A

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