Comedy, Reviews, Stage

Nish Kumar (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

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“I’m what’s known in the UK as a critically acclaimed comedian,” Nish Kumar says. “That means I get very good write-ups in newspapers like The Guardian, I use big words, and I don’t sell many tickets.”
The first two are true — Kumar does get very good reviews The Guardian and elsewhere, and he does use big words. But his nearly sold-out MICF show attests, there is a huge audience for his very smart, extremely funny show.
Kumar doesn’t do personal comedy or stories about his life; he is a self-described left-wing comedian whose show includes biting social commentary and wry political observations.
As it says in the title of his show Long Word…Blah Blah Blah …I’m so Clever, Kumar is indeed very clever, with a long bit on Monopoly (“That’s a financial crime. They don’t have board games about fraud, or Lego Ponzi Scheme”) and another on the racial politics of James Bond that had the audience in stitches.
He tells his audience he’s sized them up as flat white-drinking Melbourne lefty hipsters, and they are his kind of people. He’s right. He plays to people who enjoy Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and do not think Andrew Bolt would make a good prime minister. .
But the show is not an angry, left-wing call to action. His most biting words were reserved from Malcolm Turnbull’s recent speech blaming the Brussels terrorist attack on lax immigration policies in Europe.
He does not think comedy has become too politically correct — but that basic politeness and human kindness never hurt anyone. He describes political correctness not as censorship but as a feeling of “See that boy? Let’s not bash him — he’s nice!”
Kumar’s is gentle, wordy, intellectual comedy — if that is your kind of thing (and it is mine), you will love this show.
Long Word…Blah Blah Blah …I’m so Clever, Nish Kumar is at the Old  Met Shop Melbourne Town Hall until April 17 

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