Ellen DeGeneres Mispronounced Comedian Hasan Minhaj’s Name, So He Called Her On It

It's no harder to pronounce than Ansel Elgort

Comedian Hasan Minhaj made a point about double standards.  (Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Comedian Hasan Minhaj made a point about double standards. (Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Getty Images for Ozy Media

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What’s in a name? For comedian Hasan Minhaj, who hosts the weekly Netflix comedy series Patriot Act, the opportunity to make a statement about cultural double standards with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, according to BuzzFeed.

A popular performer, Minhaj’s name is in the news, but many people mangle it when they say it. That includes DeGeneres when Minhaj appeared on her show to chat this week. “People always mispronounce it,” he told her.

The topic came up after Ellen announced, “And it’s ‘Ha-saan Min-aaj,’” reports BuzzFeed, which describes her introduction of him as more of a question than a declaration.

So the comic seized the moment to set the record straight. The correct pronunciation of Hasan Minhaj’s name is Has-en Min-haj not Haseen Minaja or Hussein, as he said he’s been called in the past, BuzzFeed reports. “I’m so sorry I can’t pronounce it. Meet my son, Higsby Witherthrottle III!” he said.

He recalled how early in his career people urged him to change his name. “And I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna change my name.’” He paused, then name-dropped the actor who starred in Baby Driver.  “If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj.”

DeGeneres asked the comedian what he does when ordering at Starbucks, which is famous for getting names wrong. “I go by Timothee Chalamet,” he said.

Amid the laughs, there was a serious point, notes BuzzFeed. “Americans seem to be able to learn and pronounce white people’s names just fine — no matter how foreign-sounding (ie. Ansel Elgort, Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan…) — but can’t seem to wrap their tongues around his own Indian name.”

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