Hasan Minhaj Jokes About His ‘Daily Show’ Failure: “I Saved A Dying Institution”

Hasan Minhaj turned a career downturn into a comic bit last night a the Netflix Is a Joke festival in Los Angeles, saying that his lost opportunity to host The Daily Show actually saved the long-running institution.

“We’ve all failed in our lives,” Minhaj said, “but have you ever failed so bad, you bring back Jon Stewart?” I saved a dying institution. You’re welcome.”

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The reference came during a joking exchange between Minhaj, who was serving as emcee of a festival showcase, and current Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng, who had just taken the stage.

“I’m surprised that Hasan’s able to do this show,” Chieng cracked, according to Deadline’s sister publication Variety. “I guess canceling is not what it used to be.”

Last September, Minhaj conceded during a New Yorker magazine interview that he had fabricated parts of his seemingly fact-based stand-up routine, most damningly in an anecdote about his daughter being hospitalized after exposure to a white powder that had been received in the mail. “The punch line is worth the fictionalized premise,” he told the magazine.

Minhaj, who had built a career on what appeared to be honest observations of the social and political scene, had widely been expected to be a finalist for the Daily Show hosting job after Trevor Noah departed the spot. Amid the fallout from the New Yorker brouhaha, Minhaj was out.

During last night’s festival appearance, Minhaj jokingly heckled Chieng following the “canceling is not what it used to be” quip.

“You planted that story about me!” Minhaj said. “Who the f*ck fact-checks stand-up comedy? Only Ronny Chieng would set me up with some f*cking mouth-breathing journalist. It was you.”

In the wake of Noah’s departure, former host Stewart has returned to the hosting desk once a week, boosting the show’s ratings, hence Minhaj’s boast of saving “a dying institution.”

Minhaj’s current “Off With His Head” stand-up tour is set to be taped this summer.

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