“Patriot Act” sets stage for political comedy


A poster for Patriot Act. The series premiered on Sunday, Oct. 28.

Out of 1,569 shows on Netflix, an exceptional political comedy is hard to come by. Thankfully, Hasan Minaj’s “Patriot Act” fills the void. Released on Sunday, Oct. 28, the first episode started off the show with a bang, covering Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action was created by the government, in order to give opportunities to groups that are usually discriminated against.

A new episode of “Patriot Act” comes out every Sunday, and the 7 episodes have followed a variety of  issues often neglected by typical forms of media, ranging from Amazon to Oil.

With organized segments, Minhaj introduces the topic of interest while statistics, pictures, and videos appear on the screens behind him. While this may not seem interesting to the average person who is looking for comedy, Minhaj inserts comedic references to keep the audience engaged. In the Amazon episode, Minhaj references Monopoly and Internet Explorer, even recreating one of Amazon’s ads that was previously mentioned in the episode.

“Patriot Act” is reminiscent of other lovable political comedy shows, like “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Both are similar in their styles; 20 to 30 minutes of discussion about one issue, and the same type of format. However, since Minhaj is an Indian-Muslim American, a lot of the humor he includes revolves around his culture and background.

Minhaj artfully combines humor with important issues, such as Content Moderation, the process of monitoring content on different platforms, and Immigration Enforcement. In a serious episode about Saudi Arabia, Minhaj jokes about Mecca and Medina being the “infinity stones of the Muslim World”. He then proceeds to joke about a guy who had his face on a mug, aka a “mugshot”, and references the Golden Globe Awards.

The viewer can tell that Minhaj and his team spent a long time researching their topics. With comedic spins and entertaining graphics, Minhaj keeps the audience engaged. In the first episode, Minhaj even said so himself that he had been working on this show for two years before Netflix took it.

Overall, “Patriot Act” is not groundbreaking. There are other shows that are similar, but Minhaj does a good job putting a unique twist on his brand of political comedy. However, he is the first Indian-American host a show that talks about pressing issues intertwined with comedy.

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