Trolls Incoming: Watch Hasan Minhaj’s Hilarious Take on 2019 Polls

Despite warnings from desi uncles, Hasan Minhaj expresses his mann ki baat on Modi, Rahul, RSS and Indian politics.

Updated19 Mar 2019, 03:57 AM IST
4 min read

Hasan Minhaj delivers a hilarious primer on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, in the latest episode of ‘Patriot Act’, his weekly news comedy show on Netflix. Hasan, who is an American comedian of Indian origin, begins the episode by showing desi uncles and aunties warning him against talking about Indian politics.

“There is lot of garbage outside, and that garbage is going to come on your face if you open your mouth on Indian politics.”
Desi uncle to Hasan Minhaj
(GIF Courtesy: Netflix)
How’s that for brutal? Undeterred though, he goes on to express his mann ki baat for the next half an hour, joking about Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, the RSS and noisy TV “debates”, among other things.

Watch the entire episode here.

How Quickly Will People Pretend to Get Offended?

“Since Modi came to power, India has grown more hostile to minority groups. There’s been a resurgence in religious nationalism, specifically Hindu nationalism, the idea that India is a Hindu nation.”

That’s how Hasan begins talking about the election. I know what you’re probably thinking – how long before he starts getting trolled for simply speaking the truth, right?

Oh wait, the trolls have already begun.

But hang on, I’m not here to show you more such vile, hateful tweets. I’m here to tell you about the punches, and punchlines, he packed into what is a solid, entertaining half-hour. For the international audience, it’s quite a detailed explainer of what’s going on in Indian politics right now.

For Indian audiences though, it’s mostly stuff you already know – so you’re mainly just waiting for the jokes. But in a country where anything from a cartoon depicting corruption to a Snapchat filter depicting... um, never mind... can get you into trouble, serious trouble, Hasan’s jokes are welcome comic relief in a polarising election environment.

Speaking of Polarisation...

The show actually talks quite a lot about it. Almost pre-empting the trolls who would predictably focus on his Muslim identity (and call him an American of anti-Indian origin maybe!), Hasan jokes that he’s actually a Pakistani spy. The crowd laughs, but given how criticism of the government here gets so many of us called anti-national all so often, the joke hits home.

Hasan’s jokes have a wide range of targets – from Yogi Adityanath to Shashi Tharoor, the RSS and its former chief MS Golwalkar deciding to name his book ‘A Bunch of Thoughts’ (seriously, it is quite a bland title), multi-window panel discussions on Indian news channels featuring a shouting Gaurav Bhatia (why, just why did he not choose Sambit Patra instead though), and a whole lot more.

Yogi fans be like... “He said what?!”
Yogi fans be like... “He said what?!”
(Photo: Screenshot/Netflix)
Yogi fans might not be too impressed with his description of the UP Chief Minister though – “a monk with a gun”. You’ve got to watch the show (or read the news) to know why he’s got facts (and an admission by Yogi on camera) on his side though.

‘No Presser by PM Modi Is Like Instagramming With Comments Disabled’

Hasan interviews Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for the episode and it’s not because he’s siding with the Congress – he says BJP representatives did not respond to any of his interview requests.

He also observes that Narendra Modi did not address a single press conference in his five years as prime minister, and even spoke about how the prime minister’s silence often spoke volumes.

No-presser Modi.
No-presser Modi.
(Photo: Screenshot/Netflix)
“He gives speeches all the time, but he is the only Indian prime minister to have never held a press conference in his own country. That way, he can never be questioned about his controversies. It’s like posting on Instagram, but disabling comments.”
Hasan Minhaj on Narendra Modi


Trolls Incoming: Watch Hasan Minhaj’s Hilarious Take on 2019 Polls
(GIF Courtesy: GIPHY)

Modi’s Many Hugs, and the Only One He Refused

“If Donald Trump is a tugger, Narendra Modi is a hugger.”
Hasan Minhaj
(Photo: Screenshot/Netflix)

Though I regret that Hasan did not show Modi’s obsession with pulling the ears of children he sees near him, and instead showcased his already famous ‘hug-plomacy’, the best part about this bit is getting to relive the Rahul-Modi awkward hug in Parliament.

The studio audience laughs as the screen pauses on Modi’s clearly unimpressed face after Rahul hugged him. Minhaj imagines Modi saying, “Boundaries, Rahul, please. Please, just don’t make me call HR.”

The one hug Modi didn’t like.
The one hug Modi didn’t like.
(Photo: Screenshot/Netflix)
Now, before you accuse me of having given away too much about what’s in the show, I’ll stop here. Why don’t you go watch the show instead? What, you’re going to tweet about it first? My article was your cliff notes version of the show so you could troll him faster? Wait, no. Stop.

Damn, too late already. Can’t wait for everyone to do the Twitter curations tomorrow now. Ah, democracy!

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Published: 17 Mar 2019, 03:47 PM IST
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