Nish Kumar is a man who works for his audience. Despite the boiling hot room we’re in, Kumar is wearing a suit, so at all times he is more uncomfortable than we are. He shouts himself hoarse, his political rants are well informed and distinct. He also coaxes out some of the loudest and longest laughs from the audience I’ve heard this year so far.
This year’s show is an elegant mix of pop culture riffs and political commentary. There are some lulls in the laughter when Kumar talks with passion about the left needing to re-engage with the public to stem the country’s gradual movement to right-wing prejudice. There are also jokes about the 1997 film Batman and Robin, and the excellent but ethically dubious video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Even if the jokes die down during the ‘serious’ bits, they come back hard. Kumar’s Edinburgh hour is a slick operation; controlled, but powerful.
In short, Nish Kumar had the audience in the palm of his hands. This was assured and confident stand-up, and a complete success. He’s a class act, and should be one of the main attractions for anyone who likes smart comedy.