Aces up his sleeve

Funny bone

Aces up his sleeve

Indians would expect Nish Kumar, the British-Indian stand-up comedian, to bring out the ‘desi’ in him in his stand-up acts and poke fun at Indian stereotypes and cliches, but the tall comedian, with a child-like smile, prefers to show India in a positive light.

He considers himself lucky to be born an Indian and he feels that such jokes are overdone.   

The ‘toned-down punk’, who has a diasporic identity, mainly centres his themes around his ethnicity, family, personal experiences and largely his failures. 

As catchy as they are, what strikes the audience most is his sardonic wit. “I find failure and discomfort funny,” he says.

An intelligent man, he believes the ability to be able to laugh at oneself is one’s biggest strength.

Like many of his peers in the industry, he started out exploring his ‘comic’ self and experimenting with his creativity during his “good old university days” but his real interest sparked when he sat through a comedy festival at Edinburgh. 

“A lot of people ask me ‘how comedy happened to you’, like how an accident happens,” he laughs.

Though it’s quite difficult to track the evolution of the audience and their response to humour, through his experience, he has found that the audience tend to catch on to interesting and quirky stand-up acts.

“The inability to be good at anything else is what one should have to come up in the industry,” he says, adding that humour is a tough place to be in. 

He always seems to be on his toes, ready with witty answers, and he rarely blanks out on stage.

Though Nish hasn’t seen much of Hindi comedy in India, he can relate to a few stereotypes about various Indian ethnic groups and understand the political references being made and says that he would love to come back to India for a comedy tour. 

From savouring his first gig, where his parents watched his performance to getting a nasty hate mail in his journey, looks like he will never be tired.

He is excited about his next few shows in England and is also writing for the BBC Radio. 

Describing comedy as his life and hobby (though mostly his hobby), he wants his audience to have a good laugh after witnessing his show, something they would never be able to experience anywhere else.

When asked how his mind really works beneath all that curly hair, he says, “I am not 100 percent confident when I say that my mind works properly.”

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