Sara S. & Wali Ahmad
American-Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj announced that his political comedy Netflix show, Patriot Act, will not be renewed for another season.
“What a run. @patriotact has come to an end,” wrote Minhaj. “Thank you to @netflix and everyone who watched.”
While some fans are happy to see Minhaj moving on from the show to start other projects, many upset fans believe the show was deliberately cancelled due to the controversial nature of the topics discussed.
From being banned in Saudi Arabia for discussing the alleged corruption of the royal family to delving into the highly polarizing debates on police, marijuana, and the American prison system, Patriot Act dared to cover some of the most polarizing topics in politics today.
Even the title of the show, Patriot Act, showed that Minhaj was not one to shy from controversy. Minhaj’s powerful play on words of the USA Patriot Act, a controversial policy implemented by the Bush administration that has historically been abused to unlawfully criminalize Muslim post-9/11, made a statement that encapsulated not only Minhaj’s willingness push the envelope, but to punch back at beasts like religious injustice.
However fans believe that this fact, along with Minhaj’s Muslim, “POC identity” are the reasons for its cancellation.
“Netflix cancelling Patriot Act is not just an indication of the fact that they don’t want to center voices of color, but instead (I think) an indication of the fact that Hasan Minhaj and [his] team took risks and made people uncomfortable — and that was too much for Netflix,” tweeted a disgruntled fan.
The show premiered on Netflix on October 28, 2018, and within two years, Minhaj produced 39 episodes that covered a wide range of sociopolitical issues presented in an interactive, talk show format. Prior to coronavirus, the show was filmed in New York City in front of a live audience, before switching to the more one-on-one format of the last season.
Ranging from covering topics as serious as the aforementioned ones to overpriced designer products and the slave-like work culture of the video game industry, the show’s content diversity and edu-comedy style allowed Minhaj to reach millions and educate others about critical issues around the globe.
Many fans have even said that the show’s episodes are so informative that they’ve been able to complete assignments and get As on final projects because of Minhaj.
Regardless of the show’s cancellation, Patriot Act
has undoubtedly created waves that nobody was anticipating. Minhaj’s brazenly unabashed and witty commentary combined with his energetic stage presence made Patriot Act not only popular, but an influential force on Gen-Z.
More importantly, Minhaj’s unwillingness to stick to the status quo of making stereotypical “brown jokes” and belittling his ethnicity for the sake of “relatability” has set a new precedent for POC creators to own their identities as a part of their experience, not as the punchline.
Fans took to Twitter to reflect on the show fondly.
“I loved Patriot Act because the show challenged the status quo… they taught their fans to stand up for what’s right, whether or not that was popular. Forever grateful,” tweeted a fan.
I loved Patriot Act because they challenged the status quo. They exposed and fought against oppressive systems. And they taught their fans to stand up for what’s right, whether or not that was popular.
Forever grateful. https://t.co/v8xrbJwBQD
— Mary Kate Bickford (@mk_bickford) August 19, 2020
While the show may be cancelled and the next moves of Minhaj are unknown, fans are hopeful that he will deliver. Many of the top comments under Minhaj’s Instagram post are positive, stating that they “can’t wait for what’s next” and believe that this is “just the beginning” for Minhaj. But until then, we are just going to have to watch the reruns (Netflix, at least let us reminisce, it’s the least you can do).