Nish Kumar: Long Word . . . Long Word . . . Blah Blah Blah . . . I’m So Clever
Another accomplished and thoughtful set from a Fringe near-stalwart
This article is from 2015.
Although Nish Kumar claims to flounder when asked to describe his style of comedy, it's safe to say he's politically engaged, passionate and playful. Politics is the loose thread running through this show, from Kumar's love of 'right-wing' action films (he speculates their 'left-wing' counterparts would be seriously dull) to more obvious subjects such as gender and race. He assigns partisan politics to various creations, including a smart routine on Monopoly, and he details how its conception as a left-leaning educational tool was ironically hijacked for unscrupulous ends.
Stand-up comedy is a predominantly liberal / left pursuit, and that's a notion Kumar touches upon in his show. While it's likely that he's performing in an echo chamber filled with approving laughter, every once in a while he'll challenge the way a gag is received by an individual. The result is a slight frisson and the suspicion that he's keen for a worthy challenger.
On the subject of race, Kumar neatly dissects the apoplexy that numerous internet commenters spewed in response to rumours that a black actor (Idris Elba) is frontrunner to play the next James Bond. He presents a well-argued riposte which nimbly segues into a sequence where he gleefully deconstructs the series' theme songs while passionately belting out one of his own.
There's a nice rhythm to Kumar's show, crafted by a gentle to-and-fro of serious and silly, and while he often ventures into dark waters, his tight writing keeps everything bobbing along amiably. On the cusp of hitting 30, Kumar is also celebrating his tenth year in comedy. Despite his relative youth, he's a confident and mature performer. He says tonight is his first ever sell-out show. It certainly won't be his last.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 7.15pm, £9–£12 (£8–£10.50).