Over the next two weeks in the heart of Soho, Nish Kumar is being funny. Humbly inspiring affection from the audience and, more remarkably, his critics, Kumar speaks about being “ethnically ambiguous” and his experience of online identity theft. The thieves have not stolen his details for monetary gain as you would expect, in fact it is simply his face which they have used to represent the term “confused Muslim” in the world of the web. Indeed, when you search the term, memes with his face plastered on them appear with amusing and often offensive slogans.
Kumar is offended not only because he has not permitted this use of his face, but also because he is not a Muslim. Its not that he finds being regarded as a Muslim offensive he says, its just that he’s not. And he has the foreskin to prove it – thankfully he only tells us this part.
Kumar identifies himself as British Asian and though some of his comedy centres around this, not all of his cleverly structured skits do. Originally of Indian origin, Kumar experiences racism. However, it is not the predictable slurs he finds himself on the end of. Being ethnically ambiguous (a term he has coined, which begs the question of why it isn’t more widely used – it is exactly this type of concise truthfulness that makes his show funny), Kumar often finds himself on the receiving end of insults for pretty much any race that isn’t white, resulting in quite peculiar reactions.
Reference to current events make for a relevant show. Scattered with his astute and well put observations, which vary between great mirth and grave seriousness, his set moves at a well measured pace.
Having had a critically acclaimed run this year at the Edinburgh festival, he now brings Nish Kumar Is a Comedian to Soho. Kumar is clearly on his way to mainstream success. Perhaps it is because he isn’t quite there yet that, unusually for a comedian, he seems like a very affable, regular man with a wonderfully quirky world view. I would warn you not to be misled by this demeanour though, as he put some latecomers in their seats very quickly with some sharp quips and the best of swear words!
I would advise you to go and see him quickly because he is funny, genuine and we need more variety in the current face of British stand up. But mainly because he is really funny.
Nish Kumar is a Comedian is running until 21 Dec at the Soho Upstairs For tickets and more information go to the Soho Theatre website.