Comedian Hasan Minhaj returns with volume six of his weekly Patriot Act series. Like always, the show takes a humorous yet incisive look at topical issues. This season is no different. Here’s what you can expect from the first few episodes that have been released so far.
1. Quick review
The brand new episodes released range from how the legal marijuana industry is rigged, to how coronavirus broke America to why we cannot stay silent about racial discrimination.
Some of the episodes also feature special segments of interviews with concerned parties, most often to ‘first hilarious-then contemplative’ effect.
The accounts he delivers are as hard-hitting as any of Minhaj’s previous diatribes while being peppered with the comedian’s sharp one-liners. Delivering facts and breaking the tension with comedic relief is something Minhaj has strived to do from the beginning of the series.
2. Is it worth watching?
Volume six seems arguably less personal than the first few seasons. Although its release had been set back due to the global pandemic, the Patriot Act has aired five new episodes so far. There are still shocking and eye-opening facts he brings forth that manage to stun you into the realization of potentially your own ignorance.
Minhaj himself basically is the brand that is the Patriot Act. He talks about globally relatable topics and it must be said and acknowledged that Patriot Act and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver are complimentary to each other.
Minhaj is not a white onlooker who is looking down at world’s problems through a white-washed lens. He’s as much a part of the milieu. He dispels myths and cracks self-deprecating jokes, all the while bringing a well-rounded perspective to disturbingly pressing issues.
So far, there have been five episodes in volume 6 of the Patriot Act. Minhaj kick-started season six with a keen look at the nose-diving American economy, mass unemployment, and inflation for basic necessities. He asks a question that is relevant on a global scale; what happens if you can’t pay rent?
In the second episode, Minhaj questions the booming cannabis industry. He points out that it is being dominated by rich white businessmen at the expense of small cultivators and people of color.
In all of his episodes, Minhaj stays up to date with current events. Episode 3 of the volume explains how coronavirus broke America. He talks about the tanking economy, failing supply chains, and health and food workers being put at risk. He also dissects Trump’s use of executive powers in this episode.
In the fourth one, he highlights the need for people to speak up regarding racial discrimination in America today. Through the episode, he appeals to everyone, particularly the Asian-American community and other POCs (People Of Colour). This episode definitely came at the right time.
Local newspapers provide vital information during trying times. In the fifth and last episode of the season so far, Minhaj explains how private equity firms are pillaging these institutions.
II. Music and visuals
The music director of the Patriot Act is Ludwig Göransson. He is a Swedish composer, conductor and record producer. Prominent works of his include the Rocky franchise, Venom, and Black Panther. He has composed and created the iconic theme song of the show.
The episodes of the latest volume are filmed by Minhaj in his home. In the first episode of the volume, he initially appears on screen wearing a mask. He quickly pulls off the mask, murmuring how difficult it is to talk with it on. It has been remotely shot and produced.
According to a release, Minhaj has filmed it at home in front of a green screen. This helps in making up for the giant screens he usually gestures wildly in front of. It’s not the Patriot Act without the graphics, which are also being produced remotely.
3. Final thoughts
In a setting of delivery such as a monologue, it is easy to lose one’s train of thought. However, Minhaj steers clear from preaching. The half-hour long episodes are concise, yet brimming with information.
Sometimes, his frenetic storytelling style can leave the audience with an information-overload. However, the generous dose of comedy and Hasan’s inclination towards a tight, neatly-woven narrative ensures that viewers are tethered back to his set by the end of the episode.
His attempt to bring about a positive change is the Patriot Act’s USP. From starting websites to saving the Amazon to making episodes available on Netflix’s almost-extinct DVD rental services and putting out part of the video on YouTube, Minhaj not only unfurls a problem but also tries to provide clear solutions.
He may not be a harbinger of change, but he is definitely a necessary voice of dissent in an increasing fundamentalist climate.