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Minhaj critiques politics through comedic lens

By Amani Salahudeen
Staff Writer

Some may remember comedian Hasan Minhaj’s visit to the College last year. Minhaj is famous for his role as a news correspondent on “The Daily Show.” You might recognize him from his Instagram video with consultant Marie Kondo or his commercial with Tan France. Minhaj also starred in the 2017 Netflix stand-up comedy film, “Homecoming King,” which was his first special, but thankfully not his last. He is also back with a new show called “Patriot Act,” which is now streaming on Netflix.

Minhaj tries to use comedy to combat the current political tension between news media outlets.

“Fox News is incredible,” he said on “Homecoming King.” “I’ve never seen so many people with spray tans hate people of color. It is amazing. And Fox News is in New York. They’re in New York. Daily Show, Fox News, five avenues away from each other. That’s it. Professor X, Magneto, that close. Every day I walk past their building during lunch. I’ll see all the employees, Hannity, Coulter, leave their building, cross the street, walk past me and line up for halal chicken and rice. I’m like, ‘uh… racist Randy wants that red sauce.’ Your brain can be racist, but your body will just betray you.”

This attitude reveals Minhaj’s ability to combat Islamophobia with comedy, making it one of his most clever deliveries.

Once you’ve finished watching “Homecoming King,” it makes sense to watch “Patriot Act.” “Homecoming King” focuses more on Minhaj’s childhood experiences and his life as an American Indian Muslim, but “Patriot Act” focuses more on how Muslims are portrayed in the news. “Patriot Act” discusses issues such as the harsh truths in Saudi Arabia surrounding journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. When Saudi Arabia pulled the episode, Minhaj made another episode poking fun of this. Minhaj does a commendable job explaining the situation in a comedic light.. He also uses his experience as a child of immigrant parents to relate to the audience, which only adds to the success of the show.

The most recent episodes of the “Patriot Act” deal with censorship in China and drug pricing. Minhaj discusses the issue of overpriced insulin pens in different countries in comparison with America. Minhaj uses comedy to explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes through the use of a political skit. He explains why this price increase is problematic and a public health epidemic.

“Insulin is pretty much affordable anywhere else in the world other than America,” Minhaj said in the episode about drug pricing.

Whether you choose to watch “Homecoming King” or not, you should definitely check out Minhaj’s new show, “Patriot Act,” where he uses comedy to integrate past experiences and relate to viewers. Regardless of what religion or race you are, Minhaj’s comedy skits will have you doubled over with laughter. More importantly, the show is something a lot of minorities can relate to. As an Asian American Muslim, Minhaj uses his comedy skits to represent Muslims in an enriched way while also allowing them to find some joy amidst trying times.


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