Quebec legislation humour: Hasan Minhaj hosts Just for Laughs special

A look at the career of a comedian speaking truth to power.

A look at the career of a comedian speaking truth to power.

Hasan Minhaj's Netflix comedy series is called Patriot Act. (Eric Hobbs)

Hasan Minhaj is the first Indian-American to host a weekly comedy show, and he uses his platform on his Netflix comedy series, Patriot Act, to unveil big global issues. 

His blend of journalism and standup comedy, in Minhaj's words, uses cutting-edge graphics that look "like Michael Bay directed a PowerPoint presentation."

Throughout his career, Minhaj hasn't been afraid to tell it like it is, tackling topics that many comedians don't touch because of their fear of backlash. Minhaj first came to prominence as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Minhaj takes his bold sentiment to the Just For Laughs (JFL) stage in his upcoming special "Adult Boy," premiering on CBC Television on June 28.

Biting takes on Canadian politics

Minhaj has already tackled issues in Canada unlike anyone with a global platform. In a 2019 Patriot Act episode "The Two Sides of Canada," Minhaj interviewed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a week before he was exposed for wearing blackface and brownface.

In the episode Minhaj outlined topics that are pertinent today: the SNC-Lavalin affair, Quebec's secularism law (Bill 21, which bans religious symbols), Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and the Trans Mountain pipeline

Minhaj offers up a take on Canadian issues again in "Adult Boy," his first Just for Laughs gala in 2019, featuring performances by Vancouver comics Ivan Decker and Jacob Samuel, as well as British musical comedy sisters, Flo & Joan. 

Here are a few more daring quotes from Minhaj about Canada:

  • "At some point political pragmatism has to reckon with the reality of climate change. You can't negotiate with science, you can't meet it halfway. Shit is melting fast, especially in Canada, which is warming at twice the planet's average rate. So if Trudeau's going to be the best choice on climate emissions, he is going to have to step up and be the climate hero that he has claimed to be. 

  • Addressing Trudeau as "White Panther" he says, "Remember the old words of wisdom: With great cheekbones, comes great responsibility. Wakanada forever."

  • "Bill 21 is legalized discrimination […] it's about denying people their right to free expression. Also Quebec, you can't talk about secularism when your flag kind-of has a cross in it. You can say it's a tribute to cubicles but come on, it's pretty Christian."

  • "It's so weird to me that this progressive, peace-loving place has a deal to sell tanks to the Saudis, especially when Trudeau's government has been so vocal about their brutality."

Netflix is facing criticism for pulling an episode from viewing in Saudi Arabia of American comedian Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act that criticizes the kingdom's crown prince. 3:08
  • "How does my man [NDP Leader] Jagmeet Singh only have six per cent? He has no scandals! People in Winnipeg are like 'I don't trust him, I don't know why. I just can't put my turban on it — finger, I meant finger.'"

Be sure to tune in to CBC Television on June 28 to watch Hasan Minhaj's JFL special, "Adult Boy" which will also be available to stream on CBC Gem.