Considering how famous she is, one would think comedian Ellen DeGeneres would do her research before hosting someone with a non-English name so she doesn’t mispronounce it on her show. But, apparently, she does not, reported Bustle.
This was evident when fan favourite Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and just a few seconds into the episode, DeGeneres mispronounced his name. Of course, the witty Minhaj, who hails from a North Indian Muslim family, did not let it slide.
DeGeneres told him, “So, it’s Has-san Min-aj,” pronouncing both his first name and last name incorrectly. Her pronunciation of Minhaj similar to Minaj (perhaps Nicki Minaj’s name influenced this?) and Hasan as if there was a double “s” hiding in his name somewhere.
But the Patriot Act star responded with a simple “no” before going on to teach DeGeneres the right way to pronounce his name. “I actually want to do this on national television,” he said. “The real way you pronounce it – and this is a big deal because my parents are here – it’s Hasan Minhaj,” he added.
After repeating it a couple of times, Minhaj then asked DeGeneres to try again. Her response? “Hassin Menish” The third time was quite a charm for DeGeneres though as she eventually pronounced the name correctly.
Minhaj went on to reveal that when he first started doing comedy, people advised him to change his name. “And I’m like, I’m not going to change my name. If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj.”
People – particularly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali descent – have been loving Minhaj’s stance on the importance of learning the correct pronunciation of other people’s names. “This is awesome. Thank you for not changing your name,” posted a under named Adi Shankar. Another added, “Love, love, love that Hasan Minhaj insisted on people learning to say his name correctly.”
The sentiment was echoed by many across the Twitterverse. “That, right there. Having the respect for yourself and your name to correct people when they mispronounce your name, is taking ownership of your identity,” continued a fan of the actor.
The relatability factor was high here. “I feel your pain. Love Sellmun,” joked a fan named Salman Zafar while another user named Shawal added, “I get called shalwar, mashal, showel, I don’t even bother correcting it anymore…” A user named Harry Budisidhartha summarised the entire episode in a nutshell too. He shared a clip of the exchange between Minhaj and DeGeneres captioning it, “A common struggle for those of us with non-Western names.”
Watch it here:
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