SALFORD’s Lowry Studio Theatre was host to Nish Kumar’s new show entitled ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud’ on Sunday October 2. Surprisingly for a comedian of his stature he had been ushered into the smallest of the theatres, but he would soon explain why.
Announcing himself onto the stage with virtually no gusto, Kumar says he’s stunned that he’s sold so many tickets.
A strange statement perhaps.
Popping up on multiple TV shows and seemingly having a permanent slot on the radio, he could expect to have punters scrapping over tickets.
However, his reason, he declares, is that he’s a specific type of comedian, the type of comedian that struggles to attract the masses – a critically acclaimed comedian.
But as he displays in this show, that doesn’t mean he has little worth as a funny man.
There’s no warm up act in the Londoner’s latest tour, instead he says: “You’re getting 100 per cent Kumar!”
A list of rules, like all fun parties, kick off the show.
How much of a joke these are is hard to decipher, but the Salford audience obeyed them.
However, there was one exception when, in contravention of a rule, there was chatter between two audience members.
Much to Kumar’s delight, they were shushed by a fellow ticket buyer.
Kumar’s material is clever, and if audiences don’t realise that’s ok because he tells them, and on more than one occasion.
As he does so his plumped curly hair bobs while he laughs at himself for saying such an arrogant statement.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows in Maidstone and Manchester this weekend! Great times
— Nish Kumar (@MrNishKumar) October 3, 2016
The first 20 minutes contain an anecdote that shows Kumar’s love of music, particularly older artists of the 70’s and 80’s.
These somewhat illustrate Kumar as an outsider, but there’s certainly sparks of jealousy in the audience when he talks about his experiences in seeing David Bowie, Prince and James Brown.
Politics and current affairs will always be part of a Nish Kumar set and it’s no different in this show.
American Donald Trump gets a mention, nothing new in comedy these days, however, there’s a refreshing focus on Trump’s son.
Upon talking to the front row, Kumar uncovered a history teacher and his trainee.
For most comedians this might not offer much to go off, but Kumar isn’t most comedians.
His second half contains more history than a monologue from David Starkey, allowing him to continually tie in the audience without clumsily breaking away from anecdotes.
Big topics are tackled in the latter half but there’s a couple of table spoons of silliness stirred in for good measure.
Often complex jokes are followed swiftly with a little bit of wordplay, the juxtaposition adds to the hilarity as well as keeping everyone hooked.
Kumar discusses his love of Britain, but analyses the difficulties of this when observing the country’s past, particularly the empire.
Of Indian decent, Kumar’s relatives were part of the resistance to the British, leaving him in a funny predicament which he certainly uses to his advantage.
As the show powers on, there’s a clear rise in passion resulting in some piercing digs at rich white men, a definitive theme of the show.
There is an undertone of anger in the delivery of these jokes, which make up a superb left wing orientated routine, focusing on gentrification.
Brexit is next, left late in an agenda for the first time in what seems like forever.
Despite some clever wordplay not much stands out from this routine, but for a heavily covered subject to live up to the originality of the rest of the show was always going to be a tall order.
Nish Kumar fits into the mould of a left wing comedian, cleverly commenting on current affairs but this somewhat underplays his comedy.
His jokes are clever, his delivery slick, but what makes him even more appealing is that he seems to enjoy performing which really rubs off on audiences.
There’s a reason he’s critically acclaimed, Kumar just needs to get more people to see him.
By Adam Lewis