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Hasan Minhaj’s Chance For ‘Daily Show’ Sinks After Comedy Scandal

Comedy Central is casting a wider net in its search for Trevor Noah’s successor on “The Daily Show.”

While comedian Hasan Minhaj was initially reported as a frontrunner for the hosting job, Variety is now reporting that Comedy Central’s parent company, Paramount Global, is actively considering other talent amid the fallout from a New Yorker piece that found Minhaj stretched the truth in some of his stand-up routines.

In his response to The New Yorker, Minhaj admitted to embellishing several supposedly autobiographical anecdotes about Islamophobia but claimed the stories revealed “emotional truths.”

Noah departed “The Daily Show” in 2022. Since then, the popular late-night TV program has featured a roster of different comics filling in as hosts, including Minhaj, Chelsea Handler, Leslie Jones, Al Franken, Kal Penn, Marlon Wayans and Sarah Silverman, as well as long-time contributors Roy Wood, Jr., Desi Lydic and Jordan Klepper.

Hasan Minhaj performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert on Nov. 4, 2019.
Hasan Minhaj performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert on Nov. 4, 2019.

According to Variety, Minhaj is still in the running for the role, but Comedy Central is also taking a closer look at audience research to gauge which recent temporary hosts have been successful.

This casting conundrum comes as the satirical news show readies itself to return to the studio following a five-month hiatus due to strikes by the Writers Guild of America. Hollywood writers will work once more after striking a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that secured increased residual pay, more transparency around streaming numbers, better staffing and guardrails around the use of artificial intelligence.

Following The New Yorker’s report, Minhaj defended his storytelling in a statement to Variety.

“All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me,” he said.

“Yes, I was rejected from going to prom because of my race,” Minhaj added. “Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost harmed my daughter. Yes, I had an interaction with law enforcement during the war on terror.”