Hasan Minhaj On His Personal Approach To ‘The Daily Show’ And Stephen Colbert’s Excellent Advice

As the 2016 election winds down, we’re spending the next week talking to some of the people who’ve been on the campaign season’s frontlines, the correspondents of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah in advance of the show’s live election day show on November 8th.

During the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, several Daily Show With Trevor Noah correspondents chatted with us for a short video about how to engage with Facebook friends who support Donald Trump. Each offered hilarious but poignant suggestions for what to say to everyone’s old high school buddy or distant uncle, though senior team member Hasan Minhaj gifted the one-and-a-half-minute clip with its moment of zen.

“These ‘immigrants,’ these ‘blacks,’ these ‘Muslims’ that are ‘taking your country’ — just take a chance to meet them and not see them as just some esoteric policy point,” he said. “We are real people. These policies affect us.”

Minhaj spent years crafting his stand up act while opening for the likes of Katt Williams and Gabriel Iglesias. This led to minor spots on Arrested Development and reality competitions on NBC and MTV, then — when Jon Stewart hired him in 2014 — The Daily Show. Through it all, Minhaj has demonstrated a penchant for putting his own “skin in the game” for comedy’s sake, but never at the expense of the serious subjects he covers.

As The Daily Show prepares for its live election night special on November 8th, we got the chance to talk to Minhaj about the deeply personal nature of his comedy — both on and off the Comedy Central staple — and whether he and his colleagues enjoy the live broadcasts more than traditional tapings.

What was it like covering the conventions back-to-back? It must’ve been grueling.

It was really fun, actually. We were like a touring band, which was really awesome. The shows were changing every night, and the two places we were going — Philly and Cleveland — were two such very different experiences. I’ll never forget it. It was just incredible. Sure, it was definitely really challenging, but I think we all just gelled and bonded together, and turned a corner as a show. I remember we just had so many kick-ass shows, and Trevor was kicking butt in all of them. I’m just really proud of the work we did.

How’d the experience compare to the live broadcasts?

I love it. It’s really great getting to do live shows like that, because what we’re doing is fun, funny and meaningful. Though it also feels like we’re sprinting a marathon. It’s great because we have to do so many of these shows. Especially during election season, whether it’s the conventions, the debates or what we have coming up with our live election day coverage. It’s just going to be really fun and exciting, and I love those days. They’re jam-packed. There’s all this prep that you do, and then some of it just goes out the window. So you have to make new stuff on the fly.