Review: Political Comedy Series ‘Patriot Act’ Explains Controversial Issues

Lauryn LIn, Contributor

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is a political comedy series on Netflix aimed at explaining current controversial issues. The satirical show stars Hasan Minhaj, a former writer for The Daily Show who earned his degree in political science at UC Davis. He has a separate stand-up comedy show titled Homecoming King about his experience growing up in Northern California as an Indian Muslim.

With his Asian-American background, Minhaj pokes fun at the many problems within the culture and yet still finds a way to celebrate its achievements. As an Asian-American woman, I greatly appreciate how Minhaj is bringing light to not only the most pressing political issues, but also how important diversity is. The two overlap on many different levels and it would be wrong to leave out one but not the other. An impeccable storyteller, Minhaj is using his talents to educate the masses on subjects we may not be comfortable talking about. He is reminiscent of John Oliver (Last Week Tonight), who makes what is quite possibly the most depressing subjects bearable to ingest with jabs of jokes here and there.

In this tension-filled political climate, it’s important that young people are discussing these touchy topics and are using their voices to be the changes they want to see. Shows like this one are what inspires this generation to speak up and speak out on what they feel strongly about. It encourages people to vote and fulfill their civic duty; this show informs them of the research they may need to do or to call their local officials in order to make that change if they are unhappy with the way things are. Maybe this will persuade you to be more active in your community and participate in future elections.

Unlike many political comedies on air now, Patriot Act elaborates on one topic each episode for about half an hour. Episodes are released every Sunday on Netflix and it is currently in its second season. The most recent episode focused on student loans and how difficult it is for a recent graduate to pay them back.  A previous one clarified the censorship situation in China and how people are having to find loopholes to protest because they are prohibited from doing so. There are countless concerns that need to be addressed and I hope that Patriot Act continues to discuss them. Patriot Act reveals that the most powerful people are not the ones who care the most for their constituents, but the ones exploiting them.