Following in the footsteps of “Daily Show” alums like John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee, Hasan Minhaj is stepping up to host his own political talk show series. “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” premieres on Sunday, Oct. 28 on Netflix.
In it, he explores complex issues through comedy, storytelling and, as he told “CBS This Morning” on Friday, by putting himself into the narrative. In the first episode, he takes on affirmative action through a larger conversation about the idea of meritocracy and reveals his own SAT scores.
“I wanted to pick topics that have to do with the news but then tap into sort of a larger… narrative that’s happening in the country,” Minhaj said.
Asked about whether he believes America is a meritocracy, Minhaj pointed to the difference in size between Donald Trump’s photo in the “CBS This Morning” green room compared to the Dalai Lama’s.
“So you tell me. Is the world a meritocracy? Do things work out always?” he said.
Things certainly have for the 33-year-old Minhaj, who in addition to landing an unprecedented 32-episode order from Netflix for his weekly series, has hosted the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and earned a Peabody Award for his stand-up special “Homecoming King,” which touches on his experiences as a first generation Indian-American. But he says he didn’t always realize that his perspective could be a plus.
“Great comedy comes from sort of pressure or sometimes feeling like an outsider or how do I get through this situation, and a lot of times there’s humor in that. And so I think I didn’t realize until later in life, that was my X-Men superpower. Growing up you want to just fit in, and then when you get older as a comedian you’re like, ‘Oh I have the best take, because it’s the most unique.'”
“Patriot Act” is the first show of its kind to be hosted by an Indian-American, but Minhaj’s parents, who desperately wanted him to be a lawyer, weren’t always supportive of his comedic endeavors. Minhaj says he used to sneak out of his parents home just to do stand-up.
“And one time I came back and my dad was just like… I was just hoping you were doing drugs. Why’d you have to do this?” Minhaj joked.
Naturally, things have changed since then.
“I just want to take swings and really share stories that I think haven’t been heard before,” Minhaj said of “Patriot Act.” “There’s only certain stories that make the front page. And I think there’s a lot of stuff that’s on that front page that, you know, aren’t attached to tweets and sort of that sort of nonsense. I want to have the bigger conversation about bigger issues and just take swings.”
“Patriot Act” premieres Oct. 28 on Netflix with new episodes streaming every Sunday.
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