Amaani Master, BA International Relations
“I’m Hasan Minhaj, welcome to ‘Patriot Act’, we did it!’. This is how the first episode of “Patriot Act” began. Minhaj, who gained recognition as a senior correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and his stand-up special “The Homecoming King”, is now the first Indian-American to host a comedy show on Netflix. “Patriot Act” follows a similar setup to “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, a popular show that dives deep into topical events outside the current administration in the United States, and instead tries to focus on the rest of the world. So far, “Patriot Act” has already covered a variety of different subjects, from the hype around the brand Supreme to the exploitation of workers at Amazon.
There have been a number of similar shows on Netflix that have been cancelled, such as “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale”, “Chelsea”, and “The Break with Michelle Wolf”, so why has “Patriot Act” attracted so much attention?
“Minhaj’s ‘Patriot Act’ gives South Asians a special place to vent their frustrations about the current political climate in a humorous, yet informative manner.”
As the first Indian-American to host a comedy talk show, his voice stands out from the numerous white men with identical haircuts that we see on TV today. Minhaj speaks directly to America’s minorities, and gives South Asians a special place to vent their frustrations about the current political climate in a humorous, yet informative manner. His first two episodes, about Affirmative Action and Saudi Arabia, are both topics that are controversial in the Muslim and South Asian communities. Minhaj isn’t hesitant to call out the inauthenticity of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s reform efforts, or anti-black sentiments in the Asian immigrant communities, allowing his content to reach a wider audience.
But Minhaj gives a lighter touch to these topics, giving the audience an insight to a background that many other hosts cannot provide. From explaining the Islamic bidet known as a lota, to showcasing the different reactions from White parents to Asian parents on SAT scores, Minhaj is able to say what a lot of talk show hosts cannot precisely because of his background as the son of Indian immigrants.
The show’s greatest strength is Minhaj’s ability to talk about and relate to events from his own experiences and perspective: one that is often underrepresented by the media. It will be interesting to see how his show progresses through 32 episodes, in a time when an alternative voice is not just welcomed, but necessary.
Photo Credit: Hasan Minhaj Twitter