Interview: Nazeem Hussain – 'If you pick on me first, you're gonna get it'
A big name back home in Australia, Nazeem Hussain delivers a mixed bag of tricks for his debut solo hour
One half of comedy duo Fear of a Brown Planet and creator of TV series Legally Brown, Aussie Nazeem Hussain derives a fair amount of his humour from confronting racism and discussing his Muslim heritage. His debut solo hour takes its name from his comedy show which, he says, is a mixed bag of tricks. 'There's definitely stuff in there about politics and race, and living in a perpetual state of paranoia as a Muslim in the west, but there's also stuff about buying cool pants and becoming a little bit famous in Australia.'
A 'little bit famous' is modest in terms of Hussain's reputation. He and his FoaBP partner Aamer Rahman won a Melbourne International Comedy Festival Best Newcomer Award in 2008 and, that same year, Hussain was given the Young Australian Muslim of the Year Award. He is also patron of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees, the only organisation in Australia run and governed by refugees and ex-detainees. It's clear immigration is an important subject to him and he's keen to talk about it, particularly in a post-Brexit Edinburgh.
'The UK is such a melting pot, and is in many ways the birthplace of modern multiculturalism, so it's interesting to observe how everything unravels. I'm definitely leaving a chunk of space in the show to joke about rogue Scotland, (not so) Great Britain and what the rest of the world thinks. In Australia, we're also witnessing the rise of hard-right white nationalist groups, including the comeback of our own redneck, redhead politician Pauline Hanson, so I'll be taking notes to report back to my people back home.'
It won't all be hard-hitting, Hussain promises. But maybe leave your heckles at the door. 'I like to get chatty with audiences too, so we'll both be getting to know each other, in a nice way. Unless you pick on me first: then you're gonna get it.'
Nazeem Hussain: Legally Brown, Assembly George Square Studios, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 8pm, £10.50–£12 (£9.50–£11). Previews 3–5 Aug, £7.