Nish Kumar has never played a room this size at the Fringe before – and he’s clearly enjoying the sudden whoosh of television fame.
Nish Kumar: It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves, Assembly George Square, (Venue 8) * * * *
Kumar strides around the stage letting rip an explosive, expletive ridden rant about Tories, Brexit, racism, Trump, Johnson, Piers Morgan, Dominic Raab and Theresa May. The audience applauds as each target is lampooned and vilified and they celebrate as the man from the television howls and swears about the frustrating, infuriating and terrifying state of the nation. As Kumar says, it feels good and cathartic to be in a room full of people who agree with you.
But he’s too good a comic and too clever to coast on his popularity. As always Kumar has something to say.
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There’s a shift of tempo when he talks about a subject closer to home. It’s a taboo subject – comedy. Kumar loves comedy – but he’s been disappointed by it lately.
He explains why he has been let down by The Simpsons, by Louis CK and by Ricky Gervais.
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He passionately believes comedy should be making the world a better place – and that it’s important to call people out for prejudice, racism and bullying.
Kumar chooses his targets well, he’s punching up. And while it is easy to laugh at his cartoonish explosions of rage he is also very clear about where that anger comes from – whether it’s the fall of one of his comedy idols, the rise of everyday racism or the lunatic logic of the Brexiteers.
Kumar may now be the sort of comic who is invited on to Question Time but he has lost none of his fire and fury. He challenges his audiences, he makes you think – and miraculously he manages to make people laugh about politics in an era when hardly anyone can bear to think about it.
Until 25 August.