Nish Kumar @ Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The Mash Report host pairs high-octane style with analytical substance as he takes on the causes and effects of society's flaws

Review by Emily Corpuz | 25 Feb 2019
  • Nish Kumar @ Lyceum, Edinburgh

In his latest show, It’s in Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves, Nish Kumar has crafted a dynamic set that keeps audiences clinging to every word of his incisive humour and fast-flying commentary. Kumar delivers a high-octane analysis on the state of Western culture and politics, but what differentiates him from other comedians with similar material is the strength of his critical mind.

From the outset, Kumar establishes a near-instant rapport with the audience: he has a knack for reading the room and playing with the crowd. The show starts with the now requisite cracks about Brexit and Trump, guaranteeing laughs from even the slightest of left-leaning folks. Then, plying his acerbic wit, Kumar deftly weaves in personal anecdotes on racism, racial profiling, gender issues, feminism and male entitlement.

Though this ground has been tread before, Kumar sets his comedy apart by going beyond the here-and-now and delving into the causes and ramifications of increasing intolerance. He has done his research and it shows; Kumar considers perspectives from every side of the debate, which amounts to an absorbing evaluation of Western society.

Kumar doesn’t let anyone off the hook, either, from comedians to politicians and even himself. It’s this self-awareness that’s refreshing; he lays his flaws bare and recognises his social responsibility to use his platform to encourage others to become more informed and engaged members of society. What’s more, he’s leading by example.

It’s heartening to come out of this show with something of a positive message: that we must assume the mantles of our own social responsibility to “fight for the soul of Western democracy.” Though this is certainly a long road, with comedians like Kumar, there are enough moments of wholehearted hilarity to keep you going on the uphill hike. 

Nish Kumar continues to tour It's In Your Nature To Destroy Yourselves across the UK until 31 Mar