Nish Kumar - Who Is Nish Kumar?
An astute and positive debut from a comic with an infectious love of words
This article is from 2012.
Nish Kumar has been kicking around the Fringe for a few years on various projects (most notably alongside Tom Neenan in Gentlemen of Leisure), but this superb hour marks an astute solo debut. Biding time before launching himself as an Edinburgh stand-up has clearly paid off as he appears to have every trick in the book at his disposal. His delivery and manner are highly confident but he stirs in just the right amount of vulnerability to make his tales of insecurity, naivety and failure feel wholly credible.
It seems every second male comic has their ‘dad story’ to impart these days, but very few will be delivered with such glorious abandon as this, as Kumar notes the bond that he shares with his father, a close relationship that has been sorely tested by the odd inappropriate choice for their regular trip to the cinema. But at its core, this is another show about identity as the Croydon comic unapologetically hands us a ‘left-leaning Guardian’ polemic in which racists are continually put to the sword while he amusingly notes the various nationalities which people have mistaken him to be.
But there’s more to Kumar than political grandstanding as he muses on why men of violence tend to be drawn towards him, why he is still obsessed with Buffy and the bizarre incident which forged his ambition to be a cop’s wise-cracking sidekick. His love of words and their malleability is infectious and he receives laughter each time he adds ‘man’ to an adjective in order to create a daft new noun. And the positivity expressed in the room when he tells us the puns on his name which he could have wielded for his debut show name suggests that his follow-up title might just have been coined this August.
Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 27 Aug, 8.20pm, £9--£10 (£8--£9).