“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” Review


Image: Netflix.com

Hasan Minhaj is shaking up the world of political talk shows with his new Netflix weekly series, Patriot Act. Minhaj, who is no newcomer to the land of late night and comedy (his stand-up special Homecoming King was widely successful, he was a popular correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and in 2017 he was the featured speaker at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner), applies his background in comedy, late night news, and debate clubs to create a series that redefines the late-night talk show. Minhaj has released the first seven episodes of his show so far, and each shows his dedication to both educating and entertaining viewers in a brand-new way. 

Minhaj is making a clear effort to stand out from other hosts, shying away from the formulas of shows that have proven successful. While presenting the news, Hasan chooses to stand, which differs from many other hosts and gives the show a more friendly vibe; there’s no desk in between Minhaj and his audience, which makes for a more direct connection. Additionally, his decision to stand makes the show feel like a stand-up special that has the added benefit of helping viewers understand news items that often go ignored. 

Minhaj’s episodes, seven of which have been released thus far, have covered topics ranging from political corruption in Saudi Arabia (which sparked media attention when Netflix caved to the Saudi government’s demands to ban the episode within Saudi Arabia) to the marketing practices of the brand Supreme. He covers important issues that go unnoticed in the mainstream 24-hour news cycle.

In another shift from the modern late-night formula, Minhaj often ignores the low-hanging fruit of late night, which is making fun of President Donald Trump. When he has to mention the president, Minhaj chooses to call him by his initials, “DJT.”       Hasan Minhaj is also embracing new media. Like many other shows, episodes of Patriot Act are uploaded to Youtube, but Minhaj’s show goes further. The Patriot Act Youtube channel also uploads exclusive videos, like Minhaj’s responses to the comment section of his episodes or answers to question that the audience asks during the recording of his show.

Overall, Minhaj is dedicated to advancing a perspective that is not widely heard but should be.  I recommend Patriot Act to fans of shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver or anyone looking for unconventional news coverage that informs and entertains.