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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Nish Kumar - Nish Kumar is a Comedian
Nish Kumar - Nish Kumar is a Comedian
Published on Tuesday, 20 August 2013

3 stars

Underbelly, Bristo Square (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-25 Aug, 8:10pm-9:10pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Who is Nish Kumar? You may never have asked yourself this question, but clearly it’s one the man himself felt obliged to return to, after last year’s show Who is Nish Kumar? presumably didn’t quite address it. Nish Kumar is one thing for certain: a loveable man. Warm, affectionate, inclusive, conversational. You can tell his popularity will continue to sky-rocket over the coming years, and yet he’s here to tell us about how his identity got hijacked on the internet and turned into a weird meme.

Kumar is trying to understand why the meme (for the uninitiated: “an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” – thank you Miriam Webster Dictionary) upsets him. We won’t repeat it here, but it’s offensive to Muslims; Kumar isn’t a Muslim, but is someone who, in his own words, could be mistaken for anything from an Arab to a Jew to a Brazillian.

A show about who you are may seem like one of the easiest things to come up do, but as Kumar reminds us, he hasn’t just thought of all this on the train here. There is a point to this identity-theft of sorts. It implies that Kumar is something he is not – and so, it’s racism that is rearing its ugly head.

Racism is something Kumar has had to deal with, as you might unfortunately expect for a British Indian comedian, but it’s a topic he manages to explore with hilarious results. What really riles him is inaccurate racism, something it seems he’s encountered often. He is at his best here when taking us through the agony of having to correct his abusers (“no, not n****r. I think you mean p**i?”). He also tells a great story of mistaken identity when a woman tells him he is a Guardian journalist – to the point he’s almost convinced.

Kumar is a nice man, trying his best. Those are his words, not mine – and it’s true. He is a very funny man and, although he’s not breaking any conventions of stand-up, he is still very good at what he does. He keeps the audience on their toes with bullet-train delivery and consistently funny turns of phrase, and everyone leaves safe in the knowledge that they know full well who Nish Kumar is. He is a comedian.

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