TV Shows, Pop Culture

This comedian makes me feel seen as a Muslim

Hasan Minhaj may have left The Daily Show, but he continues to educate and inspire through his new tour and upcoming Netflix show.

For many, discovering that The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj would be leaving the show was heartbreaking news. As the first (and only) Muslim correspondent on the show, Minhaj brought an authenticity to the news that viewers had not seen before.

When it came to stories that affected Muslims, he wasn’t just relaying a story; he was living the experience. Viewers felt that. Luckily for his fans, he announced two major updates: he would be going on a North American tour and he would be starring in his own Netflix show The Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.

A gif of Hasan Minhaj that says
[Image description: a gif of Hasan Minhaj that says “dope”.] via WiffleGif
Let the squealing commence.

The tour, Before the Storm, is a two-month long excursion that began in Los Angeles on August 11 and ends in New York City on October 18. I saw his show in Dallas, Texas, and within seconds of his performance, Minhaj quickly reminded his fans of why they fell in love with him in the first place. Before he launched into his set, Minhaj bantered with the audience, making references to the local community and thereby making us all feel like he understands our corner of the world.

Without giving away spoilers, I will simply note that though Minhaj may have left The Daily Show, he continues to educate, inspire, and incite laughter while on tour. His shows are unique in that they are filled with statistics, research, and news stories—a nod to his former Daily Show life—while including personal anecdotes that leave his audiences in tears. On a screen behind him, he flashes images, graphs, and news clips to shed light on current events.

But this is not your typical PowerPoint presentation. Minhaj masterfully weaves the information into story to deconstruct the false narratives surrounding marginalized groups and discuss topics like terrorism, the travel ban, and refugees. At the same time, Minhaj shares stories about his family, faith, culture, and new baby girl. Whether you came to his show for relatable content, a laugh, or political commentary, you easily get all three.  

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is to air October 28 on Netflix. Minhaj’s previous Netflix work, his comedy special Homecoming King, gave his audiences a glimpse into his personal life as a first-generation Indian American Muslim growing up in Davis, California. The show was sold out, critically acclaimed, and earned Minhaj a Peabody Award. Homecoming King’s success, a second national tour, and strong run on The Daily Show all point toward a promising Netflix show debut. Patriot Act will have new episodes every Sunday, and if his fans don’t already have Netflix, they likely will soon.

Watching Hasan Minhaj on The Daily Show and on tour brings me more than a few laughs; they give me a sense of comfort. I know that our stories and experiences are in the hands of someone who gets it, someone who understands what it means to be a part of a marginalized group, and someone who is impacted by it every day.

A show with Hasan Minhaj is not solely about the comedy, it’s about taking audiences on a journey that engages the heart and the mind. You laugh and you learn. You leave his show a little better than how you entered it, and you can’t help but want more.