“What a run,” Minhaj wrote on Twitter. “‘Patriot Act’ has come to an end. I got to work with the best writers, producers, researchers, and animators in the game. My 2 babies were born and grew up with the show. TY to @netflix and everyone who watched. Now it’s time to return these screens to Best Buy.”
“Patriot Act” aired for 39 episodes across six seasons on Netflix and covered timely and topical political and cultural moments. In response to the cancelation, some Twitter users pointed out the particular loss given the lack of people of color in the comedy world.
"It was a truly innovative comedy show that offered something different than what other current events comedy shows were doing. cool to see a brown person doing it too," journalist Sopan Deb tweeted.
Others pointed to what they saw as unfortunate timing, given the nationwide racial reckoning and upcoming election. "Netflix just canceled @hasanminhaj’s vital PATRIOT ACT at a time of global pandemic and racial reckoning, in the middle of the most critical election in modern history, right after the unveiling of a Dem ticket whose VP is Indian American. That is to say: When we needed it most," writer Jeff Yang tweeted.
Many fans pointed out the show offered an insightful look into a variety of tough-to-tackle topics. Recent episodes covered the coronavirus crisis, George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers, the upcoming election and the price of attending college. "#PatriotAct is the best news show on issues relevant to AsAms," sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen tweeted. "I have used clips from #PatriotAct to teach about affirmative action and Asian Americans and shared his video on anti-Black racism in the AsAm community widely."
During its run between October 2018 and June 2020, the show was widely praised and won an Emmy and Peabody Award. The final season was postponed due to the pandemic and aired on the streaming service in June. The entire show will continue to be available on Netflix.
Talk shows have been a challenging genre for Netflix’s as an on-demand service, as multiple other shows such as Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea,” “The Break With Michelle Wolf,” and “The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale” all failed to last more than a couple seasons (the latter two were canceled after only one). Sources stressed to Variety that when it comes to renewal decisions for any program, Netflix heavily weighs viewership against the cost of production.
In a recent interview with Variety, Minhaj said Netflix’s expansive global reach made it a “no brainer” to work with the streaming giant.
“It allowed me to break out of the cognitive framework of being in the late-night world with multiple Jimmy’s because I was not speaking to the North American audience anymore, I’m speaking to the world,” he said. “When I’m doing a piece about the elections in the Philippines, or censorship in China, or Indian elections, or Saudi Arabia — there are more people outside of the continental United States that know about that stuff, then people here in the States, know about those issues.”
Minhaj also emphasized the need for creators of color to have a bigger platform.
“If you’re a creative of color, now is the time,” he said. “If you have a definitive voice or a project or thing that you want to put forward, I would say, just be unapologetic. Go for it.”