I just watched the first two episodes of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj on Netflix and was blown away by them. Each show focuses largely on one issue, somewhat like John Oliver does, but whereas Oliver mixes hard news and analysis in the form of a news show with him as the anchor seated behind a desk, Minhaj uses a high-energy stand-up comedy format to mix hard news with analysis, with him moving around on a stage with large screens behind and below him and talking in a fast pace. He, like Oliver, provides lots of facts and background information that one does not often hear even on news shows but interspersed with plenty of comedic analyses. It really kept me glued to the show. The fact that I agreed with everything he said on both shows may had aided my enjoyment.
The first episode dealt with the court case brought by Asian-Americans complaining that the admissions policies of Harvard University discriminated against them. Minhaj blasted them for being the willing pawns of white groups who are using them in their goal of completely dismantling of affirmative action in college admission and ridiculed them for their complete lack of self-awareness, noting bitingly that the only ‘suffering’ that Asian-American students experience by not being able to get into Harvard is that they might have to attend (Gasp! Oh, the horror!) Cornell. I totally agree with him on this issue and hope the Asian-Americans lose their case.
The second program was a brutal expose of Saudi Arabia and its awful leader Mohammed bin Salman and the atrocious policies that he and the kingdom follow, and that it took the murder of Jamal Khashogggi to make people realize that they had been conned by this ruthless and bloody autocrat who had painted himself as a reformer. The last five minutes were used to point out that Indian-American immigrants have reached equality in America in that they are now producing not just doctors and engineers and lawyers but also utterly corrupt and greedy corporate CEOs and ghastly public figures like Bobby Jindal and Dinesh D’Souza.
The fact that Minhaj is a Muslim Indian-American means that he can tackle topics and take a position on some issues that white comedians might fear to take for fear of appearing to attack a minority, just like female comedians can tackle issues and say things that male ones may shy away from. This is why it is so important that there be wide diversity of the people doing these shows, not because we want to give employment to a wider range of people but because we, the audience, deserve a wider range of views presented to us.
Netflix seems to have put up both shows on YouTube so here they are.