Nish Kumar: Comedian announces second Hackney Empire gig

PUBLISHED: 15:04 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 13 March 2019

Nish Kumar is playing a second Hackney Empire date as a result of the huge demand. Picture: Idil Sukan.

Nish Kumar is playing a second Hackney Empire date as a result of the huge demand. Picture: Idil Sukan.


The host of BBC Two’s The Mash Report will perform an extra stand-up show in east London to meet the high demand for tickets.

The Mash Report host is in east London touring his It's In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves show.The Mash Report host is in east London touring his It's In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves show.

There can be little doubt that Nish Kumar is one of the brightest and most engaging stand-up comics on the circuit right now.

The Mash Report anchor is currently out on tour with his new show – It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves – and it’s now been confirmed that he will play a second date at Hackney Empire on April 1, following his already-scheduled appearance three days earlier.

The title is lifted from a Terminator 2 quote and Kumar is in an unflinching mood for his latest stand-up outing. It’s In Your Nature… promises “jokes about politics, mankind’s capacity for self-destruction and if this will lead to the end of days. Good fun stuff.”

A recent interview in The Guardian described “the keynote theme (of the show) as outrage” – does Kumar think that’s fair?

“With this show, I guess it’s angrier,” he explains. “Those who have come to see all of my shows have described it that way. It’s like my normal stuff but more amped up than before; it’s political comedy but more aggressive.

“It’s the kind of anger borne of dashed expectations. Nihilists are having a great time right now; they’re saying ‘I told you so’. People who thought and hoped things could be better are the angriest right now, because of their dashed hopes.”

The 33-year-old has featured on programmes including Question Time, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo alongside his gig fronting the satirical news show The Mash Report. After a national newspaper previewed his recent programme – Joel & Nish vs. The World – Kumar wrote an article titled My name is Nish Kumar – so please stop calling me Nish Patel in response.

Kumar has also spoken about an incident at one of his gigs in 2016, when an audience member told him to ‘go home.’ Does he think that you need to have thick skin as a prominent British/Asian comedian?

“Yes, I think you do. For any comedian vaguely in the public eye you have to have thick skin – which I knew when I was going in – but I think the whole ‘go home’ thing was significant because it was on the night of the Brexit vote.

“At that moment it felt symbolic – like there was a sea-change in the country on that night. I think you sort of expect a certain level of racist abuse, but I’ve never had it on stage before, and that’s why it was particularly jarring. I didn’t think I would still be talking about race in 2019 – I thought these issues had been put to bed.”

Kumar’s bonus date at Hackney Empire will round off a tour which has taken in all corners of the UK.

“I’ve played here a few times – it is a great venue,” he adds. “I have done a charity gig with Stewart Lee for Hackney Winter Night Shelter, and it’s also the first place I ever saw comedy when I went to Goodness Gracious Me in 1999. When it came to arranging London, I was very keen – this was the one that I wanted to do.”

Nish Kumar is at Hackney Empire on March 29 and April 1. For more details and tickets, click here.

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