Nish Kumar isn’t exactly a comic who’s keen to couch his opinions in non-committal language. In his latest show, It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves, Kumar had some choice words to share with Britain, and he certainly wasn’t pulling any punches.
From his appearances hosting The Mash Report and guesting on hit podcast The Bugle, among other regular outings, Kumar has carved a niche for his angry, intelligent, satirical comedy, and in his stand-up that measured, articulate rage is channeled expertly, and perfectly fits the subject of his show.
Support was from Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo, the New Zealander who took home the prize for best show at last year’s Fringe, for Horndog. Twenty minutes wasn’t nearly enough – Matafeo’s high-energy, feminist stand-up was bold, confessional and – above all – fun and packed with gags. It isn’t hard to imagine an imminent future where Matafeo is packing out theatres of this size as a headliner.
Nish Kumar is hardly unique in tackling Brexit on stage, but his righteous, apoplectic dismay at the past three years of British politics was the vehicle for plenty of bleakly, blackly comedic rants. An endearing performer, Kumar worked himself to an exasperated frenzy describing the continuing bewilderment that is The News, rapid-fire jokes peppering the fury. Often the funniest lines were turned inward, never letting himself off the hook; his liberal outlook being the subject of self-deprecating jokes, along with poking fun at his family too.
Aside from material about being searched, and also being confronted by police, in Trump’s America – two tales expertly told through comic storytelling which made the distinction of pointing out his own failings too – perhaps the most relatable part of the show was the routine on feeling let down by his heroes: post-Office Ricky Gervais, the stars of his DVD collection, and the makers of The Simpsons for their tin-eared response to Hari Kondabolu’s documentary, The Problem With Apu.
A stirring and important voice, Kumar remains a breath of fresh air and we can only hope that his burgeoning profile continues to grow.