Comedian and host of Netflix’s Patriot Act Hasan Minhaj confirmed on Tuesday he was not allowed to enter the venue where the ‘Howdy Modi’ event took place in Houston. Because? His comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi “were not appreciated”.
About 50,000 people of the Indian-American community were at the event at NRG Stadium on Sunday where Modi and US President Donald Trump shared the stage, held hands and took a lap of the venue.
Minhaj, who appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about the event, called the Modi-Trump pairing “the Jay-Z and Beyonce of ethno-nationalism”.
A video of Minhaj being denied entry to ‘Howdy, Modi’ had circulated on social media soon after it was first posted by the event’s organiser, Adam Matthew Weiss of AMWPR, on his Instagram stories on Sunday.
Weiss’ video showed Minhaj being told “some people were not happy” with his jokes.
On Late Night, Minhaj explained what he said to the organisers: “I said ‘hey guys it’s my community, you get it?’ I want to be there. And they’re like ‘We’re out of space but we’ll discuss it’. I’m like ‘okay’. And I’m like I’m sorry for making fun of cricket. It’s not a sport for farms, it’s an international game that’s taking over the world. They are like ‘No, some of the comments you made about Prime Minister Modi were not appreciated and you’ve been blacklisted’”.
The comedian pointed out the irony of watching the event on livestream on his phone as he stood right outside the stadium and seeing his own face up on the jumbotron as one of the Indian-Americans being honoured for their contribution to the arts.
“They were honouring me for my comedy while also blackmailing and blackballing me and kicking me out for my comedy. It is the most Indian thing ever. They were like ’we’re proud of you but we’ll never say it to your face,’” Minhaj said as he showed the audience a photo of himself sitting outside on the stadium’s parking lot.
Minhaj also talked about protesters and event attendees arguing with each other outside the stadium and threw in a joke about Kashmir.
“The police were like ‘Why are you guys arguing about sweaters? Everyone can have cashmere.’ And you’re like ‘That’s the problem! Everyone can’t have Kashmir!’”
Minhaj may not have gotten to say ‘howdy’ but his show will be back on air in November. Hopefully, the long wait in the stadium parking lot has only given him more fodder for jokes, enough for a whole episode on Indian-Americans and ‘cashmere’.