Nish Kumar: It's In Your Nature To Destroy Yourselves
- Brian Donaldson
- 21 February 2019
This article is from 2019
Another stirring set from one of the nation's top political comics
As John Lydon once wailed, 'anger is an energy'. It's also a powerful tool in the hands of comedians, and when used in a measured way, it can result in potent art. It would be fair to say that, right now, Nish Kumar is not a happy man. But an exhausted disappointment seems to be his default setting as The Mash Report host runs his eye over the people and institutions that have let him down over the past couple of years.
Comedians embroiled in the MeToo campaign clearly only have themselves to blame for their conduct, but Kumar is still sad at heroes such as Louis CK and Bill Cosby being unveiled as serial sex offenders. Owning their stand-up and sitcom products alongside his Woody Allen box sets means that his DVD collection is now looking rather cursed. 'Is it me?!' he ponders in similar vein to his previous show when the deaths of Prince and David Bowie seemed oddly aligned to his experiences of seeing them both live.
So, disappointed, yes: but Kumar is also very, very angry. Not a traditional stand-up venue, the walls of Edinburgh's Lyceum Theatre will have rarely been battered by so many 'cunts', 'fucks' and 'shits', but his fury is allied to some perfectly constructed and beautifully delivered gags.
Brexit, of course, is a central focus for his ire, with Leave-voter destinations on this tour getting it in the neck while those brazen leaders of the anti-EU movement are not spared his wrath. Amid the current febrile political atmosphere, the likes of Kumar are having their views sought on programmes such as Question Time and Peston's thing on ITV: this is the ideal circumstances for Kumar's mix of amiable bonhomie and withering self-doubt to clash against each other. As long as injustice and daftness are alive and kicking in Britain, comedians like Nish Kumar will always have a role to play.
Nish Kumar: It's In Your Nature To Destroy Yourselves is on tour until Sun 31 Mar. Seen at Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.