On August 18th, Hasan Minhaj tweeted to announce the end of his show, Patriot Act. Upon hearing this, fans of the show spoke up about their disappointment. Immediately after the cancellation announcement, a petition to save the show amassed over 14,000 signatures. A main reason this show has a dedicated fan base is because of its importance to Asian-Americans. South Asians, especially, found themselves represented with this show because they want to see people who look like them and can relate and learn from.

  • “This is such a shame. Hasan was doing something needed and special, and spoke with such authority and clarity about issues centering South Asians.” - culture critic Soraya Nadia McDonald.
  • “South Asians definitely needed something like his show.” - freelance editor Imaan Sheikh

Throughout the program, Minhaj touched upon many Asian-American topics and brought to light many issues. In December 2019, the episode “Don’t Ignore the Asian Vote in 2020” was released. In the video, Minhaj went to the streets of Chinatown with Andrew Yang and asked Asian passersby, “What do you think the biggest issue is for Asian-American voters in this upcoming election?” and one man said, “Representation, really.”

Minhaj never left out his South Asian audience. In some episodes, he even throws in specific cultural references that other desi audience members can understand. In the episode “Oil” released in November 2018, Minhaj joked about things the U.S.A is “number one” in. The last thing he listed was the “biggest gaps in bathroom stalls,” with the punchline “Close the gap, use a lota, please.” New, non-South Asian viewers wouldn’t know what a “lota” is, but South Asiansfans would know. Minhaj previously explained what a “lota” was in the past episode “Saudi Arabia.” A “lota” is a small watering pot often found in South Asian bathrooms for washing after they finish their business. Minjah continues his bathroom joke with, “Why don’t we treat our butts with the same respect we treat our Air Jordans?” This use of a reference from a past episode keeps the cultural word in the viewer’s mind. It is a form of cultural education.

This was a show that made many viewers feel like someone understood them. It is understandable why South Asians loved this show. They have been suppressed by the media and Minhaj was someone who broke through. He gave them a voice, he taught the general public South Asian culture, and he voiced the faults of his own culture. The cancellation of Patriot Act will leave a gap in Asian representation in American media. As a show that brought Asian-Americans together as they related to Minhaj’s jokes, it will be very missed.