A blend of politics and comedy

Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj presents an eloquent combination of politics and comedy, drawing a wide audience nonexclusive to high-schoolers.


Image courtesy of Stuti Gupta. The opening credits of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj depicts a silhouette of Minhaj surrounded by people holding political signs.

Stuti Gupta, Team Leader

*Disclaimer: this show is rated TV-MA, do not watch without parental consent*

“Log kya kahenge.”

Those were the words that drew me into the world of Hasan Minhaj. From minor stand-up comedy sets to being the featured comedian at the 2018 White House Correspondent Dinner to his very own Netflix show, “Patriot Act” with Hasan Minhaj, Minhaj has certainly made it a long way. An avid comedian he persevered through his hardships, sailing through a time when even his dad urged him to give up his dream. However, when he was hired by the Daily Show, Minhaj finally broke through, launching what was just the beginning of his successful career. 

“Patriot Act,” similar to his netflix stand-up special “Homecoming King,” is a refreshing blend of politics and comedy. 

“I really like how it’s informative, but funny too; he talks about issues that we don’t really talk about, like the issue with student loans. He does in depth research and it really shows, so you learn a lot but you’re also entertained,” senior Megan Dass said.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phrase I referred to above, it translates to “what will people think” in English. Used in “Homecoming King”, Minhaj is able to not only draw in a crowd through charm but also representation of his Indian heritage. Representing the brown community is what sets apart his show from other comedic politicians. 

“Saturday night live is kind of like that [a mix of politics and comedy], but I think Hasan is more personalized to a brown crowd, in his live show at least, and is easier to relate to, so I probably prefer Hasan… but they both have their own perks,” junior Meghana Sharma said.

With a combination of politics and comedy, Minhaj is able to expand his audience to a wide range of ages, including high-schoolers. He is able to take a serious subject and present it in a lighter way, while still retaining the importance of it. He makes the show captivating in a fashion that keeps people interested and hungry for more.

“Yes, it’s a ritual!” senior Rhoshini Raghuraman said when asked whether she watches the episodes as soon as they’re released.

Additionally, Minhaj introduces ideas or problems that aren’t commonly known or talked about. Moreover, he inspires further research.  

“I feel like it has given me a better view of a topic. Certain topics we are not allowed to discuss at school might be the ones really impacting the world. As the next generation, I think it is super important to understand these topics,” freshman Mantra Iyer said after being asked how “Patriot Act” has affected her political views.

His energy can be shown through his stage presence: an encapsulating screen used for graphics surrounds him as he uses the entire stage. This stage presence can be seen not only through these words but the lively audience.

“I haven’t been to a live show but… Hasan has these interacting with the audience sessions where it’s just talking about random things going on in the world and making jokes about them on the spot while discussing with the audience rather than a normal episode,” junior Umang Jain said.

Rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, Hasan Minhaj uses his personality, politics, and comedy to create a show that, while controversial at times, attracts a wide-array of people. 

“Things are definitely more politically charged right now. Those [censorship in China or protests in Sudan] are things that I think the world should be talking about, and Americans should be talking about, because if you haven’t been watching the news, we’re all interconnected… That’s the way I approach it. To me that matters. If I have 25 minutes of your time, I want it to mean something,” Hasan Minhaj said in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Especially important is his ability to appeal to high-schoolers. While the show is educational, many high-schoolers still choose to watch it in their free time, something uncommon to shows similar to this. The result that follows is something we need more of: politically-engaged high-school students.