Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Episode 4 of “Patriot Act”.
On this week’s episode of the critically acclaimed Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, the former Daily Show correspondent talks about oil and what happens when oil spills go unreported. The episode begins with a news story on the Taylor Energy oil spill which has been leaking millions of barrels of oil quietly off of the coast of Louisiana for 14 years. Needless to say, this is probably one of the largest oil spills in American history and yet hardly anyone has heard of it. While the premise is a harrowing look into the reality of the oil industry, Minhaj seamlessly weaves in jokes at the expense of Kanye West, George W. Bush and himself in the same sentence. Not many can do this without messing up the delivery but Minhaj makes it look almost easy yet at the same time flawless, affirming the praise him and his show have already earned.
Just like the previous episodes, Minhaj not only offers a satirical take on current affairs but also explains the technical aspects of unfortunately obscure news stories such as the oil spill that he covers in this episode without being patronizing about it. “Claiming an act of God is the worst excuse after ‘sorry, just now seeing this text’,” is arguably one of the best gags in his entire series (and the rest of the episodes haven’t even aired yet). It’s impressive to be able to tie together insurance clauses and everyday texting offences in the same sentence. He even makes a reference to the previous episode, on how Amazon with its extremely low prices still manages to make money, almost like an underlying thread tying all the episodes together, yet another prime example of his consistency. Within the first two minutes.
While Minhaj doesn’t have the loudest or the most charismatic voices, his stage presence and personality as a whole has the audience and the viewer hooked onto his every word and joke. He’s never smug, noncommittal or uninspired. There’s always excitement in his eyes, as if even he’s anticipating the next joke as much as the audience and there’s always a genuineness in the way his smile grows as he gets closer and closer to the punchline. It’s refreshing to see a comedian so alive on stage, smiling at his own jokes instead of trying to cover up his nervousness as he waits to the audience’s verdict. Minhaj isn’t chained to a desk, anymore, either, feigning the role of a news anchor. Now, his energy is palpable in the way he walks across the stage, his glorified Powerpoint showing tragic pictures of other oil spills in the background.
Another thing about Minhaj’s comedy I love that is present in even this week’s episode is that he never forgets his culture- there is always a reference to his Indian background whether it’s a reference to a ‘lota’ or the ‘halal hand’. Minhaj’s weekly show on Netflix is an amazing achievement, not just for him but also other South Asians, too. It’s extraordinary to see other Indians and Muslims in non-traditional fields and being as good at comedy as Minhaj is. Moreover, this episode’s topic discusses some dark topics such as widespread natural distraction but Minhaj manages to execute his jokes without them being inappropriately dark or ‘edgy’. He knows where to draw the line but he knows how to make people laugh. He also has the courage to call out Netflix (who gave him the show) on its own hypocrisy (as they made Bodyguard available to stream), something not many can do. Intelligent, witty and entertaining, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is a unique, amazing end-of-week treat which keeps you going throughout the following week.
Featured Image Via Netflix