‘Patriot Act’ wakes up a sleeping America

Sakina Ghatalah, Forum Editor

Despite Netflix’s usual misfortune with talk shows, they seem to have struck gold with the Patriot Act, hosted by the talented and charismatic Hasan Minhaj. Not only does his wit and humor make him the best candidate for the show, Minhaj also speaks from a point of view that is often unheard.

Minhaj is an anomaly from the usual late night hosts, as they tend to be mostly white males. While Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Jon Stewart are very talented and successful, comedians like Trevor Noah and Minhaj bring a fresh perspective and clash with what is considered the standard. Trevor Noah’s stories of South Africa and growing up in a different culture enhance the experience of the viewer as he brings a new approach to issues, especially as some affect him personally.

Breaking the mold of usual late night comedy shows, Minhaj focuses on one topic for each episode, providing the audience with factual information from his team of researchers.

Even though the show isn’t void of his opinions and bias, the viewer leaves feeling they’re more aware and educated on a topic that is often not discussed due to its controversial nature. He often describes his show as a “woke Ted Talk.”

Patriot Act’s first episode happened to be about Saudi Arabia, less than a month after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In his debut, Minhaj echoed the thoughts of millions of Muslims all around the world: Saudi Arabia sucks. Their government is a tyranny and not reflective of the religion they use as a scapegoat. Minhaj did not hold back for a second while discussing the crown prince, the US’s response to the murder, or the terrorism upheld by the Saudi government. The fact that his voice is being heard by millions, thus representing a group of people that often feel muted makes me proud as a Muslim.

Patriot Act’s format also differs from peers as the stage is circled by hundreds of glowing LED bulbs and several TV screens, Minhaj not bound by a desk and able to bounce around the stage, his engaging personality slipping out through the way he conducts himself.

Despite the modern adjustments made to a talk show, Minhaj doesn’t lose the characteristic that keeps people watching: humor. As the episodes have rolled on, his comfort level grows and he is able to be funny and talk about things that matter to him at the same time.

After seeing his stand up, the main topic he covered being the refugee crisis. Despite undertaking an extremely serious topic, Minhaj spun the issue around and had the audience laughing the whole time while still informing them with facts like the probability of an American dying in a terrorist attack by a foreigner being 1 in 3.6 million or 0.00000028%. It’s even smaller when narrowed down to the demographic the refugee crisis refers to as researched by the CATO Institute.

Minhaj’s ability to ease into controversial topics and still be hilarious is especially helpful in Patriot Act. With a unique spin on what political comedies are supposed to be, he is aiming to truly inform audiences, all while changing the narrative on Muslims and paving a path for other minorities that haven’t had the chance to have their voice matter.