If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. This fall, Hasan Minhaj has been busy: His one-man comedy show The King’s Jester debuts this week, and he recently partnered with Madewell on its fall 2021 campaign. But he took some time to tell us about his four essential note-taking tools, an indestructible backpack, and the ice cream that makes him feel like an “old man.”
I got this in 2008 when I still had a day job. You know how when you buy a sweatshirt years and years ago, and you’re like, “Hmmm, should I get the newest one?” But at the same time, you question if it will be as good. This is like that. I think for good luck, I’m going to keep using this until the bottom rips apart and I literally can’t use it anymore. It has been around the world and back with me — every New York subway, international airport, every trip to Europe, India, Asia, even South Africa. People ask me, “Why don’t you get something more high-end or stylish?” I will admit I have thought about it. Jason Sudeikis has this backpack that I thought looked really cool. It’s leather and really nice. But when I unzipped it and tried to feel around, I said, “Nope.” Everything would just slosh around in that one because it has so few compartments. It looks cool, but it’s not functional. I’m all about functionality. But I only want this one because it has the perfect amount of compartments. It fits everything, but in an organized way. I don’t want my stuff to be all loose and wiggling around in my backpack. It’s like cargo pants: People may hate on them, but there are few things that are as functional as cargo pants.
This is seriously awesome. [My wife] Beena’s cousin bought it for her on our wedding day. When I walked into their little hotel suite, I saw this kit filled with all the things that Beena might need on her wedding day. There was Tylenol, a lint roller, so much stuff. It has all these different mini-pockets. I thought to myself, Why don’t I use something like this? I walk around with these idiotic little Dopp kits that are so overrated. They have no separators. Everything is just jammed together. I never have to go digging around for anything with this kit. Honestly, though: Why aren’t more purses and bags like this, especially women’s purses? You throw something in there and it’s gone forever. But with this, I know where everything is because I can see it. It is so organized.
Like a lot of Asian guys out there, I have really thick, straight black hair. When I come out of the shower and dry my hair, it’ll lay flat and look like a bowl cut. And the temperatures here on the East Coast are getting pretty wild, so it makes my hair even more of a messy challenge. The Baxter’s clay pomade is thick enough where I can rub it together in my hands, then put it in my hair, and it will hold it all together in the way I want. It’s not super-shiny or greasy; it has a pretty clean finish. And I don’t have to put a lot in my hair because a little bit really does do the job. The makeup team for The Daily Show first introduced me to this product. I’m notoriously the guy who steals products from them. Well, no — I don’t steal them, per se. But when I leave a show or project, I kindly ask, “Hey, can I borrow this?” And almost always they say, “Why don’t you just take it?” I will gladly take it.
I get my hair cut every two weeks. I have a very good relationship with my barber. People fight over barbers in New York. There’s certain barbers that people covet, and you can wait a very long time to get an appointment with them or to become a regular. He makes sure my hair and beard are very proportional and look sharp. But when I need to trim my beard, especially when I’m on the road, I do it myself with this trimmer. I have very dark, coarse beard hair, and I have to trim it when it gets long. This trimmer is very reliable. But I will only use it in hotel bathrooms. My wife and I share a bathroom, and there is nothing worse than clipping toenails or leaving beard hair all over the place. I made this joke recently about it, actually: I treat hotel bathrooms the same way the United States treats its foreign policy. I’m going to go into a foreign territory, mess it up, then walk away like it was never my problem to begin with. I’m sorry, but at the same time, I’m really not sorry. I cut my toenails there. I trim my beard there. I do things I would never do on home soil because I don’t want to mess up my home bathroom. I respect my wife too much. Any man who does these things in the bathroom they share with their significant other is a monster.
This is yet another thing the makeup department turned me onto. They really raised me. I’m extremely clumsy. I spilled something during lunch on my clothes — it was a white dress shirt — and I went to them, kind of embarrassed, and was like, “I’m so sorry I did this.” They didn’t panic. They just pulled out the Tide pen and fixed it. I was so grateful. I keep it handy at all times. It’s right next to my pens and highlighters in my backpack.
Each piece of my office material plays a very important role in my life. I don’t know what I would do without each thing. There is no pressure when I write in my yellow legal pad. I don’t have to write a novel or my treatise. And it’s easy to just flip through pages. I’ll just carry it around and take it out when I want to write really quick ideas, whatever comes to my mind at that moment that I want to remember. I keep a notebook for journaling, so this is all just ideas. If I’m sitting down and need to beat out this inspiration that just hit me — like, boom, an idea hits me. I pull this out and get it down because who knows if I’ll have these thoughts again or if this idea will become something.