Hasan Minhaj’s weekly political coverage in new show Patriot Act is witty, informative, and relevant


In the dawn of an ever-polarized political landscape, mainstream entertainment has grown to adapt to and reflect this climate. From daytime TV, to late night talk shows, to Youtube, everyone seems to have an opinion, or at least a sly, snide remark.

While I don’t necessarily love the state of our nation’s politics and the subsequent divisions present in our society, I can’t say I don’t appreciate the consequential surge in political awareness and discussion in today’s media.

Now, the latest to join the ranks of politically-driven TV is Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix original, Patriot Act.

Patriot Act is a weekly comedy show that delves into cultural or political issues; each twenty-minute episode focuses in on one specific topic, deep-diving into the nuances and various arguments. The show, while seemingly solemn in subject matter, is laced with comedy from start to finish.

Thus far, three episodes have been released about the affirmative action lawsuits, the journalist murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate, and Amazon’s growing monopoly, each aptly titled “Affirmative Action,” “Saudi Arabia,” and “Amazon” respectively. Netflix is set to release thirty-two episodes in total, and from the moment I began the show, I knew I’d be eagerly awaiting each episode every week.

From the get-go, I immediately loved the show. It is inherently likable and entertaining, first and foremost because of its host and creator, Hasan Minhaj. Minhaj possesses the type of unique, infectious energy that draws in audiences like moths to a light. He illuminates the stage, captivating each and every audience member and overtaking the room with his presence. On stage, he is quick, bright, and witty— indications of a true showman.

Minhaj’s roots lie in stand up comedy, and personally, I don’t always enjoy stand up. Too often it comes off as overly-scripted, forced, and unauthentic. However, Minhaj easily broke through the walls of my preconceived notions, instantly winning me over. His jokes are clever and relevant, smoothly prancing along that treacherous “too far” line. Balancing edgy and offensive is perhaps the most difficult burden of today’s comedians, but when done right, it makes for some of my favorite comedy.

In the midst of the comedy and entertainment, Patriot Act is incredibly informative and interesting— something I love to see mainstream media valuing, especially in a society that can be so deluded and uninformed. While each episode only spans over one topic, it provides holistic coverage that I believe is relatively unbiased, along with Minhaj’s own opinions. Even when I didn’t always agree with Minhaj, I admire his ability to convey complete coverage alongside compelling conjectures. And all this information and opinion and entertainment packed into about twenty minutes is truly an admirable feat.

Minhaj spends each episode speaking to an audience on a stage, which admittedly sounds rather barren and boring. However, the stage and show are far from that. The modern set is decked out with a grand HD screen spanning over the entire wall behind Minhaj. Throughout each episode, simultaneously helpful and amusing graphics dance along the screen. While the set itself would seem like a minute detail, it actually is really contributive to the show in terms of not only aesthetics, but storytelling.

All in all, the fusion of comedy and current events makes for a show that is most definitely right up my alley. Throw in the representation of a talented Indian thriving in an industry that often overlooks minorities, and I’m sold.