TV Show Review: Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

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Hasan Minhaj on the Daily Show  Source: Vanity Affair

I was heartbroken when Hasan Minhaj announced he would be retiring his position as a correspondent on the Daily Show this past summer. For the past few years, I had become a massive fan of him, from both his tenure on the daily show and his witty stand-up comedy as well. I watch a multitude of different comedians from John Mulaney to Dave Chapelle to Hannibal Burress. But, Hasan Minhaj is different. He has such a unique presence in the comedy scene with his gangly limbs and high energy levels. Just watching him brings a smile to my face and makes me forget everything that is wrong in the world.  When he announced that he would be retiring from the Daily Show and releasing his own political satire show, called the Patriot Act, I beamed with happiness.

“Distinct, funny, and truly informative”

When it was finally released on Netflix on October 28th – I was far from disappointed. To be more specific, I absolutely loved it. In fact, Minhaj is receiving widespread praise for the Patriot Act, Vox describes the show as “distinct, funny, and truly informative” and Indiewire loves that it doesn’t follow the typical structure for a talk show and I couldn’t agree more. Even the name itself is unique as quite obviously, the Patriot Act was a Bush-era law that gave federal officials greater authority in tracking and gathering digital communication for “law enforcement”.  In weekly half-hour sessions, Hasan Minhaj hones in on a contemporary topic in the news and delivers his shpeal to a live audience. Thus far, he has covered Affirmative Action and its effects on Asian-Americans and the tense situation in Saudi Arabia with Khashoggi and MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

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Minhaj on the Patriot Act Source: Michigan Daily

The most striking difference to me between the Patriot Act and other political talk-show types is how interactive it is. Instead of being seated at a desk, Minhaj is running around on stage with his supporting graphic on huge screen behinds him. Just watching him will give you an adrenaline rush that no other show about politics can accomplish. Not to mention, Minhaj personifies and exudes the perspective of the “millennial” or even of Generation Z, a point of view that surprisingly is not very present in the realm of talk-show hosts. Most talk shows we see are hosted by older Caucasian males, like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.

However, just like other political talk-shows, the wit, fast humor, and liberal bias are there. So, if you enjoy shows like the Daily Show or Last Week Tonight, this show is right up your alley. While Minhaj does well in giving the audience a comprehensive summary and analysis of a current event and does so in an entertaining manner, he still has yet to solidify the identity of the Patriot Act and really hone in on what exactly is the purpose of conveying this information. Is it to inform young people about the world? Is it to make fun of the current American political landscape? Despite all these loose ends, one cannot doubt that Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act is a much-needed voice for young people. And as an Asian-American myself, I feel proud in knowing that Hasan Minhaj is yet another addition in the growing representation of Asian-Americans in the media.

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Netflix Promo Source: Geeks of Color

The Patriot Act is out now on Netflix with episodes coming out every Sunday! Go check it out!

Author: hannapham65

Hanna Pham is currently a senior and this is her first year working for The Eye. This is her third year living Singapore, having lived previously in the US, Indonesia, and Japan. In her free time, she can be found binge-watching Narcos, making guacamole, or labelling her stuff. She can be contacted at pham49117@sas.edu.sg.

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