Nish Kumar's show Who Is Nish Kumar demonstrates why stereotypes can be used for both comedy and discrimination. In the hour long biopic Kumar narrates stories from his everyday life, ranging from the tea based drowning of a full English breakfast to how one would avoid a fight in Croydon.
An undoubtedly funny first 45 minutes of comedy promised to provide an excellent hour’s worth of stand up. Kumar's delivery was impressively captivating and calm, a nice break from comedians that shamelessly cram their jokes down your ears. Kumar was as far removed from this as a comedian can be, cool, calm and suave. The audience responded generously with hearty guffaws.
The stories coalesced nicely into one another with some audience references thrown in to spice the pot. Each one kept us on the edge of our seats and smiles on our faces. Although a worrying trend of racism and ethnicity began to creep in, the audience were forgiving. That was until he dropped the n-bomb.
The audience bristled and the show sagged. Granted it was recovered within the material by an assassination of the word but the follow up jokes were not enough to bring the audience round; the laughs immediately dried up. The show then became languid as the focus switched exclusively to racism, a topic that has been almost done to death by comedians. Though the final gags reverted back to the hilarious opening style, the laughter did not. I recommend the show - but you can probably sit by the door until 45 minutes are up, then make a hasty exit.