Now more than ever, we need sharp political commentary from comedians who shine a light on the many issues facing the U.S. today. Needless to say, Netflix‘s cancellation of Hasan Minhaj‘s award-winning show Patriot Act is heartbreaking news. Over the last two years, Minhaj has had audiences laughing with his pointed takes on current events, as well as getting them to think about their own place in the world themselves. It’s something he learned well from Jon Stewart, the Daily Show host who brought him on as a correspondent before his departure.
Patriot Act‘s political satire has delivered many moments that are equal parts funny and accurate. Here, we’re taking a look at some of the best episodes that have made us laugh and made us think.
It’s hard to make depressing things funny, and Minhaj acknowledges that himself in his episode about student loans. “Try squeezing 20 minutes of comedy out of student loan debt!” he says frustratingly as the audience erupts in laughter. There really is not much to laugh about, though: much of the episode highlights the predatory lending practices of private student loan companies, and how they’ve hurt young Americans for decades while failing to invest in their future.
Streetwear brand Supreme often earns criticism for the hypebeasts who wear their clothes (and resell them for obscene prices). Patriot Act‘s episode on the brand dives deep into the brand and the culture around it, as well as dissects its issues in ways never before discussed. Of course, Minhaj does all of this in a classically funny fashion as he points out how ridiculous it all is.
‘Why Your Public Transportation Sucks’
Even the most robust public transportation systems in the U.S. like New York’s MTA and Chicago’s CTA pale in comparison to those in Europe, Asia, and other developed regions of the world. This is due a number of different factors, all of which Minhaj breaks down in the episode explaining “why your public transportation sucks.” It’s upsetting to hear the truth about how the government has worked to suppress the development of public transit in the U.S., but Minhaj, as always, is able to bring levity to the situation.
‘Why We Can’t Retire’
It’s a problem countless Millennials have come to realize in recent years: the financial burdens that were handed down from older generations (combined with crushing student loan debt) prevents most Millennials from making big financial commitments like retiring and owning a home. For this episode, Minhaj recruited the help of none other than Senator Bernie Sanders to tackle why young people face these problems today, and offer solutions for a better future.
‘The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion’
Similar to Patriot Act‘s Supreme episode, Minhaj exposes the problems with fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara and the harm that they cause people and the planet. He makes light of how simple-minded humans really are while also getting them to reflect on their own behaviors and shopping habits.
‘The Real Cost of Cruises’
Summer 2020 came and went with much of the travel industry shut down. While this may be upsetting for some, you may be happier about this once you watch Patriot Act‘s episode exposing the problems with the cruise industry.
‘Why Your Internet Sucks’
In another installment in the “why your [blank] sucks” series, Minhaj breaks down how the Internet got to become what it is today, as well as how Internet service came to be dominated by just a few companies. The Internet connects us today more than we ever could’ve imagined a generation ago, and despite that being an exciting idea, Minhaj explains why Internet service providers today engage in bad business practices—all while making us laugh, of course.