Standing in the small bend on Commerce Street in the West Village, waiting for the doors of the Cherry Lane Theatre to open, I take a quick glance around and note that Hasan Minhaj’s demographic is mostly what you’d expect: young and ethnic (myself included – well, definitely ethnic, young, not so much) . And unsurprisingly, he starts out his performance acknowledging the “brown people” in the audience. I cringe a little, fearing we’re in for a stale series of immigrant jokes that panders to a growing minority. Thankfully, it pulls out of that treacherous territory quickly.
Hasan Minhaj is probably most familiar as a correspondent on The Daily Show. But his background is varied, and it includes experience as a storyteller on The Moth (which we’ve featured on the blog here). Hasan’s time with The Moth serves him well in this endeavor, as his one-man show, Homecoming King, falls into a comfortable nook where storytelling and stand-up comedy overlap. He comes across like that really funny friend who’s telling you a good story over dinner. The tales are deeply personal, a trademark of the millennials who have consistently shared, posted, blogged and tweeted throughout their lives. While some jokes land better than others, it’s clear where Hasan succeeds is in getting his audience to invest in him and his journey, as they collectively sigh, cry out and laugh at his shenanigans. He exposes himself as a mean older sibling, as a coward, as a vindictive ex, and we can all relate. He touches on hypocrisy and bigotry, but the themes that are core to his story—seeking acceptance from our parents, having our hearts broken by a first love, chasing impossible dreams—are universal. By the end of the show, when he proudly recalls being mentored by an idol and landing the gig at The Daily Show, the audience is fully rooting for him and sharing in his success, and that is no small feat.
Homecoming King is on an extended run at the Cherry Lane Theatre through January 30, 2016. The theatre, which is situated on a charming street in the West Village (okay, I agree, they’re all charming and we hate everyone who gets to live there), is the longest continuously running Off-Broadway theatre and their mission is to “cultivate an urban artist colony, honor our groundbreaking history, and engage audiences in creating theater that illuminates contemporary issues, and at its best, transforms the spirit.” The intimate setting enhances the experience, and it is a good match indeed.
For more information on the show and to buy tickets, visit their website here.
Tip: General Rush $20 tickets are available at the Cherry Lane box office from 2 hours before showtime. Limit 2 per patron, subject to availability.
38 Commerce Street
Pair it with:
Dessert at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
There is no shortage of quaint, picture-perfect restaurants to dine at in the West Village. So pick one, then head to Dominique Ansel Kitchen for something sweet before the show. Dominique Ansel, who created and patented the famous cronut, opened this outlet as a “hybrid bakery”, where pastries are prepared so that they can be enjoyed in the timeliest way possible. For the Chocolate Mousse, that means it is made-to-order, created once requested. And for the Honeycrisp Apple Blossom Tart, that means it has been allowed to sit for the right amount of time prior to consumption. There is bleacher seating inside, which gives you a great view of the expansive, open kitchen as you make your way through that life-altering tea-ramisu (tiramisu made with black tea instead of coffee? What??). So build in some time and leave some room in your belly for the creative, delightful desserts offered here. You won’t regret it.
137 Seventh Avenue South (between Charles and W 10th Sts.)
Mon – Sun : 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.