Hasan Minhaj will be breaking new ground as the first Indian-American to host a weekly comedy show when Patriot Act debuts Sunday, Oct. 28, on Netflix. (Episodes will stream weekly on Sundays.) The former Daily Show correspondent will bring a fresh approach to the irreverently comedic news format that has long been helmed by some of the show’s other esteemed alums — including Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and John Oliver.
Patriot Act will draw on Minhaj’s stand-up background as he approaches the news of the day with thoughtful anecdotes, melding equal parts comedic timing and investigative exposition. In moments, he seems to be conversing with his audience rather than delivering them headlines, capturing the same personality and charm that garnered rave reviews of his Peabody Award-winning Netflix stand-up special, Homecoming King.
The streaming giant has given a big commitment to the show, ordering 32 episodes to start — the most it’s ever handed out for a show of this type, which will take the inaugural season well into 2019.
Here’s all you need to know about Patriot Act and Minhaj.
Minhaj began his career performing stand-up, winning a radio-station contest in the Bay Area and performing in NBC’s “Stand-up for Diversity” showcase in 2009. That led to more gigs and a job hosting the 2013 series Stand Up Planet, where he traveled the globe finding comedic talent in developing countries. In 2014, Minhaj joined the Daily Show team as the final hire of Jon Stewart’s 16-year tenure. During his four-year stint, he also served as the featured speaker at the 2017 White House Correspondents Dinner.
Minhaj co-created Patriot Act with Prashanth Venkataramanujam, who wrote material for Minhaj’s White House Correspondents Dinner performance and was an associate producer of Homecoming King. Venkataramanujam is also an Emmy-nominated writer for Bill Nye Saves the World.
Daily Show and Veep veteran and multiple Emmy winner Jim Margolis is the showrunner. Michelle Caputo, Shannon Hartman and Jennie Church-Cooper are also executive producers.
Patriot Act shares a name with the post-9/11 law that allowed for increased surveillance of U.S. citizens in the name of fighting terrorism. A teaser for the series uses this concept to establish the premise, making it clear that Minhaj has more on his mind than just being funny.
His worldview will position him to bring a refreshing take to his audience. He perfected the art of ironically commenting on the news on The Daily Show, but there and in his stand-up, he also showed a genuine interest in the world and how it works.
As fellow comedian Mike Birbiglia said in honoring Minhaj at the Peabody Awards, he’s “a born comedian who aspires to expand the form … a guy whose work demands to be noticed among the thousands of comedians he works alongside.”