Article By: Eve H.
Edited By: James Y.
Visual by: Johanna O.
Alongside many bearcats, I endured a stressful fourth quarter with a mock exam, a dozen club and council applications, and exam week. Just when I thought assessments were over, more assessments awaited me in the last two weeks before the summer break. In addition, whenever I looked at the news, or on social media, the grim headlines depressed me. The only thing that got me through this dark and despairing time was the enlightenment of Hasan Minhaj and his Netflix show, Patriot Act.
This show is, in the words of Hasan Minhaj himself, “ a funny, investigative-report meets comedy show; meets political satire; meets Malcolm Gladwell, but funny, and it’s on a bunch of screens like a Drake concert.” Hasan covers a wide range of topics, from Supreme hype to the Indian Elections, to the NRA, with both stand up comedy and Minhaj’s distinct sardonic interviewing style. The Netflix show aired in October of 2018 after Minhaj left his job as a comedian on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (another notable watch). My favorite episodes are Censorship in China, Supreme, Student Loans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Welcomes Syrian Refugees to Canada: The Daily Show, and Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down “Punish a Muslim Day”. Minhaj has the ability to make mundane topics like student loans hilarious, but also resonate with themes relevant to students like us. The strategy of using comedy to share news has been employed for centuries, dating back to the ancient Greeks, where satirical comedy was used to poke fun at politicians and contemporary issues. And it is becoming even more important today in our current climate of false and biased news, especially in a world where informed and engaged citizens are vital in making the best decisions for our society and for our planet. Nancy Ann Goldman of Columbia University states that “by challenging our prevailing assumptions, highlighting absurdities about social and political issues, and showing us alternative ways of thinking and being, these comedians are raising our awareness and consciousness. In this way, they are educating.”
Above all, what I most love and respect about Hasan Minhaj is the fact that he is widening Muslim representation in his industry in a relatable and relevant way. This representation is especially important in the world today, where Islamophobia and bigotry are not uncommon.
So if you need a break from assessments, or a way to unwind after a long and arduous school year, do yourself a favor and go to Netflix or Youtube where you can watch Hasan Minhaj and his brilliant show, Patriot Act!