by Vendela Krenkel ‘20
Seven episodes into its first season, Daily Show alum Hasan Minhaj has taken the internet by storm with his political satire “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” a Netflix show that blends current events and comedy in every half-hour episode that leaves viewers knowledgeable on the topic covered.
He often discusses minority representation in entertainment today and about his life growing up as a child of an immigrant in America. Viewers can tell he values being able to laugh at the most worrying and pressing issues of our time. In his weekly Sunday episodes, Minhaj covers topics such as affirmative action, the oil crisis, and Amazon’s growing monopoly on internet commerce.
Minhaj is the perfect host for this type of show. A set of bright neon lights and screens spread across the shot that give the show a futuristic, Kanye vibe, as Minhaj puts it, which is a completely accurate description of “Patriot Act” because this program is the one of the first of its kind. Minhaj is the first Indian-American to host a weekly comedy show and this type of representation is so important because not only is he representing his culture and how it impacted his youth in America, but he is paving the way for other immigrants and children of immigrants in comedy.
“Patriot Act” is the show for millennials and Gen Z kids because Minhaj is 33, a millennial, and understands the apathy that comes with not having an adequate source of information that appeals to the viewer. Entertainment today is severely lacking in resources by young people for young people to become better acquainted with what’s happening around the world. Keeping up with conversations between adults at the dinner table can be difficult when not well-informed, but becoming involved in the discussion is the first step to letting our voices be heard, and that cannot happen unless teens and millennials educate themselves on current events.
References to pop culture connect younger generations to the important news they should know about. These include mentions of trends like Supreme, sneakerheads, and basketball, as well as memes and popular TV shows of today to further link us to current events.
He’s excited about sharing this information with his audience too, jumping around the stage and using quick-fire jokes that take a minute to sink in, leaving viewers focused throughout the episode without feeling like they’re sitting through a lecture. Listening to Minhaj explain the grim truths of immigration enforcement policies in America today sounds more like a friend relating what’s happening to you over a cup of coffee than a monotone news report could.