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'Patriot Act' host Hasan Minhaj on why it pays to 'bet on yourself'

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How Hasan Minhaj turned a passion project into 'Patriot Act' on Netflix

Good comedians aren't afraid of ruffling the feathers of the rich and powerful, and Hasan Minhaj is no different.

His Netflix series, "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," has drawn the ire and condemnation of politicians from Saudi Arabia, India, and the Philippines — all in the eight months since it premiered.

Minhaj's career in comedy took off when he became a senior correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014. One of Stewart's last hires along with the show's now-host Trevor Noah, Minhaj found himself in a space rarely inhabited by Indian-American comedians.

He earned attention for his biting wit and dark humor, delivering the keynote address at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2017. The gig made him a household name, and he released a Netflix special, "Homecoming King," later that year.

But despite his success, Minhaj was eager to develop his own projects and he left The Daily Show in 2018.

He enlisted his friend and writing partner Prashanth Venkataramanujam. The two met performing at college open mic events and have collaborated on all of Minhaj's independent projects. Together they created "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," which debuted on Netflix in 2018. Venkataramanujam is executive producer of the show.

"The most interesting projects I've done are explorations of the self," Minhaj tells CNBC Make It. "That makes the most interesting art."

The show uses cutting humor to examine complex political and social issues, and has earned Peabody and Webby Awards. Minhaj also delves into topics of personal interest, including his love of hip-hop music and the political climate of India.

"Any time you have an at-bat, just make sure you are speaking from an honest place," he says. "Unapologetically be yourself. Do something that scares you and bet on yourself."

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