By: Mishaa Khan, Peak Associate
The 2019 Peabody Entertainment Award winner, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, is a satirical political comedy series on Netflix that highlights issues around the globe. Topics range from censorship in China to civil rights in America to depletion of the Amazon rainforest. Minhaj breaks down big issues and presents them in a humorous, relatable, and wholly digestible analogies. See how Minhaj describes non-criminal arrests: “Such an oxymoron. It’s like chatty Clarence Thomas or remorseful Louis C.K.”
If you find it hard to keep up with news on a daily basis but you still want to stay up to date on current world issues, this is a series for you! If you love comedy or politics, especially together, this series is for you too! Basically, it’s for everyone and anyone because it’s funny and addresses important issues that we should all be aware of.
The dynamic visuals and Minhaj’s crazy amount of energy make the series unique. He goes from light-heartedly talking about concerning issues to becoming very serious. The images become dimmer, darker, and simpler to emphasize the gravity of the situation.
He also does a section called “Deep Cuts” where he answers questions asked by the audience, engaging with them in conversation. In this segment, Minhaj’s humbleness really shines through. He shares experiences like the most embarrassing thing his parents have done to him to connect with the crowd and further blur the lines between personal and political.
Currently, in its third season, the series has even more to offer. The episodes have focused more on global issues, allowing viewers to understand problems occurring around the world better rather than focusing on the US as most Western media does. Minhaj has also expanded “Deep Cuts” by including more celebrities and discussing with them other important events taking place, like the abortion ban in Alabama. This has resulted in “Deep Cuts” being a lot longer and more in depth than it was in the previous seasons.
The most important part about the show is the positive impact it has had. It allows people from a range of perspectives and beliefs to enjoy the show, from a young University student like myself to a 70-year-old Republican — showing the true reach of Minhaj’s humour. The show has also been influential, as offensive wording in reference to Saudi Arabia from a U.S. Central Command training manual was removed with an apology after Minhaj mentioned it in the show.
As an Indian-American Muslim, Minhaj is not only breaking barriers for people of colour and religion in comedy. He’s reaching new heights and setting new standards for the industry itself. Minhaj is showing the world that comedy can, and should, be a place for anyone and everyone.