Mae Martin and Nish Kumar star in this brand new series, showcasing some of the hottest comedic talent on the circuit.
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This programme contains some strong language.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Hi, guys, how's it going?
AUDIENCE CHEERS This is very exciting, isn't it?
I'm Mae Martin. Is everybody good? Are you guys well?
-Did everyone have a good...childhood?
Our childhoods are over.
I'm excited to be here. Thank you for having me in this country.
I'm from Canada originally. Anybody from Canada?
ONE PERSON WHOOPS
Oh, really? Do we know each other? Do we...?
-Where are you from?
Oh, cool. That's... Don't know.
Cool. Nice to meet you.
-What's your name?
Hey, Shannon. Cool.
I'm not going to talk to you any more.
I'm excited to be in England, though. This is very exciting.
My parents are very worried about me, though.
My parents, Wendy and James. Give it up for Wendy and James, please.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Please! They're the best. They're so worried about me living overseas.
They're just worried about me being alive on this earth in general
but my mum, Wendy Martin, poor Wendy, is so anxious.
The sentence that she says
more than any other sentence in the English language is just...
"Oh, my God."
That's her level of stress, her base level that she just operates on
all the time is just, "Oh, my God."
I'll speak to her on the phone a lot, she'll call from Canada,
she's always like, "How's the weather?
"How's the weather in London?" Just furious about it.
I'm like, "Oh, it's fine, it's a little bit damp."
"Oh, my God.
"You're going to get spores."
Is that a threat in England? Spores? She's stressed about it.
Today, she was like, "What are you doing this evening?"
I was like, "Oh, actually, I'm doing a BBC gig."
"Oh, my God.
"That could make you or break you."
"Thanks, Mum! Oh, cool, I'll just relax, then."
They're calling twice as much as they normally would as well.
They're very concerned. I just got out of a long-term relaish,
so they're very worried. Thank you for your sympathy, by the way(!)
-Thanks. It was a real, it was a three-year relaish.
It was a proper, long-term... I think one of the early signs
you're not mature enough to be in a long-term relaish
is you're abbreviating the word "relationship".
I can't get through the word, but...
It's fine, we broke up in Decembs and, er...
And I'm fine, guys, I'm so good. Just catching up on my reading.
Just reading her Facebook page.
As if it's a thriller, I'm reading it.
But, you know what - who's single, by the way?
OK, a good number. Do you feel,
the only time that I really feel alone, like, "Oh, no,"
is when I'm trying to put a duvet cover on a duvet.
It's the loneliest task. Something about it is so bleak.
I get halfway through doing that,
I'm like, "I'm going to go write my will.
"I'm going to sleep in the bathtub tonight."
Yeah, but it's fine because...
My mum, I went home to visit Canada after my break-up
and my mum used the opportunity of my break-up
to broach some topics with me,
because I was in a relationship with a woman
and my mum was like, she was like,
"Your father and I are very sad, obviously, very concerned,
"but we were wondering - silver lining -
"have you thought about switching it up?"
I was like, yeah, like, I don't talk to my mum
about the intricacies of my dating life, but I do really like men.
I've dated men, an eclectic group of very...lucky men in my life.
I got Tinder, as soon as I was single, I got Tinder...
All right, sorry, slightly before I was single...
I got Tinder. And you know how you set your settings on Tinder,
on that dating app, to attract a certain demographic,
so you'll put, like, you put age, I put "18 to 700".
Like, I'm open, and you put the gender you want to attract,
so I put my settings to match with men and women.
I was really surprised by, not just how shocked my friends were
in England because they've only known me to date this one girl,
but they were annoyed at me about it. My friends were like,
they were like, "What?" They were like, "No."
Like, "But...your hair..."
They were like "You... You lied."
I was like, "How did I lie? I didn't mean to."
They were like, "You lied with your hair."
Yeah, but I did, my first boyfriend when I was 13,
his name was Ian Peach. I think we only hung out, like, twice
but we were in love
and Ian Peach broke up with me on speakerphone
while all of his friends were laughing.
They were in the room, laughing.
-Thanks, ten of you.
What, 80% of you are like, "Yeah, fine, that seems...
"That seems normal."
No, it was the absolute worst, it was so harsh,
and he had brought a CD player in
-and he was playing our song over the phone, which was...
I know! He was playing our song,
which is Aerosmith's Don't Want To Miss A Thing.
That was our song because we slow-danced to it at a party
and he got a semi, so that was our song.
That will... That will always be our song. And he was like,
"Look, I don't think we should see each other any more"
and then I hear these peals of laughter,
realise his whole class is listening. I'm...
I'm over it now. Like, I rarely discuss it publicly...
But, um... I was doing an interview recently for a magazine
and the structure of the interview was ten rapid-fire questions,
so they were like, "This will be really fun, it's word association,
"just say the first thing that pops into your head. Easy questions."
So we start off and it's like, "What's your favourite ice cream?"
"What's the best thing about London?" Like, easy stuff.
We get to the final question, they're like, "Last question."
Rapid-fire - "Why are you gay?"
As a rapid-fire question. And I was like...
Panicking! I think if I'd had any time to think it over,
I would have come up with something vaguely progressive like,
"I think labels can be divisive and I don't feel the need
"to identify as anything other than a human being"
but I panicked and said, "Maybe Ian Peach in grade nine."
For real, the first thing that came to my mind was his face
and the worst part is - and I wish I had written this as a joke,
but you can Google the interview -
they've misquoted me and they won't change it
and I'm now on record as saying
in answer to the question, "Why are you gay?"
they've put, "Maybe eating a peach in grade nine."
It's the worst misquote...
And the worst part is, my mum has a Google alert set up.
You know you can set up an alert on Google where if key words come up
you get an e-mail, so my mum has one with my name. Of course.
So my mum got an e-mail with that interview
and then I got a phone call, like, "Oh, my God."
She was like, "Is it true?"
She was like, "I don't understand.
"We gave your brother the same peaches."
Guys, you've been so nice. I've been Mae Martin. Thank you very much.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Nish Kumar.
How are you? You all right?
What was that somebody shouted at the top?
-Yeah, hi. Who's from Croydon?
-I'm from Croydon!
CHEERING AND WHISTLES
I am, yeah. I'm a prominent Croydoner.
The only other two things to come out of Croydon
are Kate Moss and the concept of crime, so...
-Great to see you all, ladies and gentlemen.
-And you, yeah.
Of course it would be the people from Croydon who are shouting.
Not doing anything to help our image.
It's nice to be here, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Nish.
I hope you enjoy the jokes. I've got some jokes to tell you.
I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, wow! I am sorry!
That will almost certainly have been my fault.
At least 60-40, that way round. You know?
Because the problem is, that's the problem with comedy,
I love being a comedian and it's a job that I absolutely adore
but it's a strange job
because I might do it to the best of my abilities
and you might not enjoy it.
That's the nature of comedy, it's an inherently subjective medium,
no two people can agree on what's funny,
so if you don't think I'm funny, that's absolutely fine.
The only problem I have as a comedian is that
if somebody thinks what I'm doing is not funny, it stops being comedy.
And there's no other job like that.
If you're a builder and you build a wall,
people go, "That's a good wall," or, "That's a shit wall."
No-one says, "That is not a wall!
"You built a bloody duck, mate! What were you thinking?"
And I like the fact that people have different opinions. I like arguing.
I think it's part of what makes being a human being
interesting and exciting.
I don't like it when people can't justify their opinions
or they do so on spurious grounds,
like my dad doesn't like rap music. Now, listen, I like rap music
but I know there's a lot of good reasons to not like rap music -
misogyny, homophobia, the needless celebration of wealth.
My dad doesn't like... LAUGHTER
That does not normally get a laugh.
Very unusual, people being like, "Ha-ha! Yeah.
"I love all three of those things."
My dad doesn't like rap music because he says it's easy
and then he will prove that by doing a rap.
He'll go, "Rap music is really easy, Nish. Watch this."
"My name is Dad and I'm here to say I'm a really great guy..."
That's not proof of anything.
You can't say something is easy and your evidence is you do it badly.
It's like me going, "Jazz music's really easy. Watch this -
"Oh, check out this easy juggling."
MIC THUDS ON FLOOR
And I had two different arguments with two separate friends
because they didn't go and see 12 Years A Slave.
Now, did anyone go and see 12 Years A Slave?
-I like that movie, I thought it was really good.
I mean, by the end, I was crying out of my mouth.
I didn't even know that was possible.
But two of my friends didn't go and see that film.
One of my friends said, "Oh, I'm not going to see that film, Nish."
I said, "Why not?" He said, "Cos it's not even a good film."
Which I think is logically...interesting.
I was like, "Why? What do you mean it's not a good film?"
He said, "Well, it's just cos it's about slavery, isn't it?
"People just think it's good cos it's about slavery.
"It's not good. People are just tricked cos it's about slavery."
Now, I'm pretty sure that's not the case, right,
I'm pretty sure 12 Years A Slave did really well
cos at least some people think it's a good film.
In fact, I know that's the case
cos I don't think 12 Years A Slave would have won all the Oscars it won
if it had starred Eddie Murphy as four different slaves
and a Chinese man for no reason.
Then one of my other friends went,
"I don't need to see that film, Nish." I said, "Why not?"
He said, "Oh, because I already know slavery was bad."
It wasn't a twist ending!
It's not like the rest of us got to the ending and went,
"Oh, my God! Slavery was the bad guy! This is like The Sixth Sense!"
I went to see 12 Years A Slave and I really enjoyed it
but, at the end, I made a slight faux pas in my mind,
because at the end of the movie, the lights came back up
and everybody was sort of recovering from it,
you know, it was a very moving film,
and there was a girl behind me who was still crying,
and this girl was black,
and I was like, "Oh, my God, this is incredible.
"She must have had some kind of personal connection to this film.
"I'm so moved that I'm here to share what is clearly an important moment
"in her cultural and personal development." And then I realised
that's the most patronising thing I've ever thought in my life.
I know it is, because I remember how I felt a couple of years ago
when people kept coming up to me, going, "Dude, Slumdog!"
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
"Slumdog Millionaire. I have tasted your pain."
So I like the fact that
people can sort of agree and disagree about different things
but, like I say, you just have to think about what the grounds are
you're justifying it on.
One of my dad's friends was arguing with me recently and he said,
"Nish, everyone your age is really weak. You're a weak generation."
Now, there is definitely a good argument to be made on that case,
but not the grounds he chose, because he chose to justify that,
he said, "You're all weak, Nish," and his justification for it
was lactose intolerance.
He's like, "Nish, look how many people your age
"are lactose intolerant.
"Back in my day we fought milk, that's how tough we were."
But of course we all know that's not how disease and discovery works.
The same number of people have always been lactose intolerant.
It's just now we know it's called that.
50 years ago, somebody would go to the doctor and be like,
"Doctor, I don't know what's wrong with me.
"I drink milk all the time and I feel awful. What's wrong with me?"
And the doctor would just go, "Pfft...
Like, that was the best guess that they could come up with.
So, er, I'm a British Asian gentleman.
It's a good time to be a British Asian gentleman right now.
It's a pretty sweet time, you know? It's pretty good.
I really believe there's nothing I can't do right now
that a white person can. I really believe that.
There's nothing I can't do that a white person can do.
Oh, there's one thing I can't do that white people can do
and that's play pranks at an international airport, because...
You know, I don't care what you say, that fun is not open to you
if you have the voice of Downton Abbey but the face of Homeland.
That is not an option. My white friends are always like,
"Nish, let's have some banter with the customs officials."
I say, "No, thank you, the only prank I'm playing
"is Let's Not Get Fingered, OK?"
I walk into airports, my bag in one hand, my shoes in the other.
I wear T-shirts that say "I heart the West."
Going up to random white people, "You know what sucks? Jihad! Ha-ha!"
I have what's known scientifically as an ethnically ambiguous face.
No-one really seems to know where I come from,
which just means I get searched at customs everywhere.
I don't know, people just really hedging their bets with me.
But generally, you know, things are getting easier,
things are getting much better.
Even conversationally we've moved so far.
Conversationally it's no longer acceptable to do an accent
if it's clearly an impersonation of a non-white ethnicity.
If you do it, people get really uncomfortable.
It's like Benny Hill doing Chinese voices in the '70s,
it's seen as something that we just don't do any more,
apart from one ethnic group. There is one ethnic group
we have no problem impersonating for some reason,
and that ethnic group is black women from the southern states of America,
because for some weird reason, no matter how liberal a person is,
occasionally they'll just go, "And you know momma don't like that!"
How is that OK?! That is definitely not OK!
If I do an Indian accent,
people go, "Nish, you should not do that, it's crass, it's offensive.
"And you know momma don't like that!"
And if you take nothing away from anything else
I say to you tonight, ladies and gentlemen, let it be this.
I think we can all agree that "Momma Don't Like That" would
definitely be the name of that Eddie Murphy remake of 12 Years a Slave.
That is...almost beyond doubt.
I've had a lot of changes in my personal life.
I was single for a long time but I've recently, er, taken a woman.
I am almost certain that is not how you're supposed to phrase that.
I was single for a long time
because I was always quite sexually reticent.
Like, when I was at school, I didn't really kiss girls,
largely because I was busy getting some excellent A-level results...
Did very well.
APPLAUSE Thank you, yes, correct.
I was that kind of kid.
And I'm aware there might be some people in here
who kissed loads of people and did really well in their exams,
and let me just take this opportunity to say this -
go fuck yourself!
No-one likes you.
I was not the most sporty kid, to be honest.
When I was at school,
the only sport I really played to any distinction was cricket.
I loved playing cricket. I still love it now
but I loved playing cricket when I was at school,
and eventually I won an award for playing cricket.
Every year they'd give out awards for cricket
that were pretty self-explanatory.
There was Best Batsman, that's for best batsman,
Best Bowler, for best bowler, Best Player, the best all-round player.
Then there was the award I won - an award called Clubman of the Year,
an award which I have subsequently found out was
presented on the criteria of the boy who'd shown the most enthusiasm
in the face of, and I quote "an overwhelming lack of ability", so...
So I was quite, you know, I was shy around girls
when I was at school, which is fine, it's not a problem.
The only problem is,
if you're shy around people you're sexually interested in
when you're a younger person, you don't make mistakes,
and you should make mistakes so you can have some idea
about how to talk to these people when you become an adult,
so I grew up, because I wasn't really trying, with some bad ideas.
About five years ago I became obsessed with the idea
that I needed to be more mysterious.
I was like, "I need to be more mysterious, that's what girls like."
Now, yeah, fair enough, OK?
Let me explain my reasoning.
At the time I was watching a lot of episodes of the TV show Mad Men.
Now, the lead character in Mad Men is Don Draper,
and he's really mysterious and attractive, so I was like,
"Well, that's what I'll do. I'll be mysterious
"and so I'll become attractive."
Now, the key problem here is that Don Draper is played by Jon Hamm.
I am not played by Jon Hamm.
And when I try and be mysterious, it just comes off as threatening.
I once said to a woman, with no discernible trace of irony,
"You have no idea what I'm capable of."
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Sometimes it wasn't even like I was trying to chat these women up.
Once I went into this pub and saw a girl I know, I'm friends with her,
and I went up behind her, put my hands on her shoulders
and went to kiss her on the cheek and at this point I realised,
this was not a girl I knew.
This was a girl who looked like a girl I knew.
Now, that is a retrievable situation.
All you have to do is say, "I do apologise, madam,
"I thought you were someone else. Have a nice day."
What you must not do
is have your hands on a woman's shoulders, be this close to her face
and when she turns around, just go, "Oh, dear!" Because...
..you have just scared a woman, ladies and gentlemen.
Scared and kind of insulted, to be honest.
So I'm in a relationship. The relationship is going...
is going well, because she's a nice lady, you know?
"Nice lady" never sounds strong enough, does it?
"She's a nice lady. She's a solid fellow."
If there was one thing I could change about my relationship,
and it really would just be one thing, it's a very small thing,
it's one thing, very small. It's one thing - it's very small.
It's one thing - it's very small! It's one thing...
It's one thing.
And that thing would be my entire personality,
because I really believe that's the last obstacle
to us being truly happy, right?
My girlfriend and I were in Australia last year
and we were in Sydney and Sydney's an incredibly beautiful city.
It really delivers on its postcard.
There's a point you can stand in Sydney
where you have the Harbour Bridge on one side
and the Opera House on the other side and you can just stand there
and look at this incredible view.
It's really, really beautiful, and I'm there with my girlfriend,
we've had this amazing holiday together,
we've grown closer as a couple and we're in this incredible place.
Now, that should be a moment of real fundamental existential calm for me,
right? But for some reason, at that exact moment,
the thought in my head was,
"This'll be one of those things you'll look back on fondly
"when you've broken up."
Who the hell thinks like that?!
Who can't experience one moment of joy without immediately thinking,
"That's one for the sorrow montage"?
That is weapons-grade pessimism. That's like someone saying,
"Do you think this glass is half full or half empty?
And me just replying, "Does it matter? One day we'll all be dead."
And it surprised me.
I didn't know I was capable of that sort of volcanic pessimism.
It sort of came out of nowhere, and I said to my girlfriend afterwards,
"I think I might be quite, you know, quite a pessimistic person"
and she was like, "Ha-ha-ha!
"Yes, you are, Nish. Me and your friends talk about it all the time."
And I felt so foolish,
because I felt like I had this whole sense of who I was as a person
and the more I talked to my girlfriend,
the more that turned out to not be the case.
I sort of think of myself as a sort of free spirit,
an optimistic dreamer who wears his heart on his sleeve,
his sleeve on his shirt and his shirt on his torso, right?
Now that I have a girlfriend,
she's like, "Nish, you are none of those things.
"You are an introverted pessimist
"and frankly it's quite difficult to be around you a lot of the time."
Now, the problem is that for a long time I was single,
so my personality was under no real intimate scrutiny,
so I basically thought about a person that I would like to be
and then I just pretended I was that person.
And because there was no-one checking, there was no problem!
So I was just walking around being like, "I'm a great guy."
And the only person there was me, who was going, "Yes, you are, Nish,
"you are an absolute legend. You're lucky to have you."
And my problem is that if my personality has drifted,
that is a serious issue, because I currently believe myself
to be the best version of myself that I'd ever been.
I think that I've learned a lot
and I'm acting in a way in which I am really proud.
Now, the problem is, clearly, I'm not the best version of myself
that I have ever been, and this has happened before.
I thought I was the best version of myself I'd ever been
when I was 18 years old
and when I was 18 years old I was a jet-powered bell-end.
I used to wear a bandanna and call people daddy-o.
That's not acceptable.
And the other problem is that I have a giant ego. Huge.
I know you know, of all people,
given what is happening right in front of you, right?
I obviously think I'm something of a laugh,
clearly, by my choice of profession,
but you have no idea the extent to which my ego has got out of hand,
right? A couple of days ago, I was having a coffee with my friend
and as I was speaking, I lost my train of thought,
and the reason I lost my train of thought
is because, as I was speaking, in my head I started thinking,
"Well, I am being very interesting here.
"I'm so interesting, I'm intellectually stimulating,
"I'm a great laugh, I'm jealous of people who get to meet me."
That's the thing.
The reason my girlfriend and I had been out in Australia is
I'd been out in Australia doing some gigs.
I was doing some gigs at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Now, the gigs were really fun,
which is good because I didn't think they were going to be,
because before I went to do the gigs, there was an incident.
Now, a lot of the time when you go to a comedy festival,
there's too many comedians to interview all individually,
so what they'll do is send out Q&As.
Now, these are all the same questions everyone gets
and it's like a standard form that you get sent out,
and they're all boring questions like, "Where are you from?"
"Who are your favourite comedians?" Blah, blah, blah.
Then, occasionally, journalists will get creative.
I have no idea why they feel the need to ask wacky questions,
but they ask some wacky, wacky questions.
There'll be a question like, "Oh...
"If your comedy show was a dog, what kind of dog would it be?!"
"I'm so wacky!
-should be a comedian.
"What? Shut up." Now...
I'm filling one of these things out
and I'm happy to do it because I get to go to Australia.
I'm going through these questions and there's boring questions
like where are you from, who are your favourite comedians,
then there is a question that's been personalised for me.
It's in a different font so I spot it a mile off.
It's clearly been inserted into an existing document,
and the question that these people had personalised for me was this -
"How come Christians are allowed to draw pictures of their prophets
"and Muslims aren't?"
To which the obvious answer is...
I don't know! My parents are Hindus!
I've got no idea why they would think I would know!
Now, one of two things has happened here.
Either these people have seen that I've got a foreign name
and just thought, "Must be a Muzzer, definite Muzzer.
"Nish Kumar is a classic Muzzer name."
Or they think we have non-white-people meetings
where we assemble, set the non-white agenda for the year
and then retire to a screening room
where we watch a DVD of Boyz N The Hood.
And let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen,
I was doing a gig in a part of the UK which I will not name
and there was a group
of nervous-looking middle-aged white people here
and it was a three-sided room, so there were two banks of seats here
which were empty apart from one black guy who was sat here,
presumably because they were keeping an eye on him,
and this guy obviously decided he was going to have some fun, right?
Because when I used the phrase "non-white people meetings"
he turned to make sure that they were all looking at him
and then, in full view of all these people,
just looked at me and went...
You have not lived until you've seen
a room full of middle-aged white people
simultaneously shit their pants, right?
So, obviously, I didn't know how to answer this question
cos this is a contentious subject
and, you know, I don't want to upset anybody, but I was offended.
I didn't think they had the right to ask me those kinds of questions.
My Muslim friends wouldn't know how to answer that question,
so I felt very uncomfortable, but it was hard for me
to articulate my discomfort cos the next question was,
"Oh, if your comedy show was grass, would you feed it to a horse?!"
And I was like, "You can't jump back into whimsy
"after you've just asked me a serious theological question!"
But then, luckily, there was a little scope for discussion
because the last question wasn't really a question. It was a task.
They had given us the first half of a joke
and we had to complete the second half.
They'd given us the feed line, we had to write the punchline.
You were supposed to complete this
in a way that shows your distinctive style of humour,
so people will come and watch you do the show,
and the feed line they'd given us, the first half of the joke, was,
"A book walks into a bar and sees a bookcase."
And this is how I finished the joke.
A book walks into a bar and sees a bookcase.
The book says...
"How come Christians are allowed to draw pictures of their prophets
"and Muslims aren't?"
And the bookcase said...
"I don't know.
"I am a bookcase."
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
"And, as such, have no idea about Islamic theology.
"I assume you've asked me because I am a brown bookcase.
"In which case, you can go to hell."
Ladies and gentlemen, you have been an absolute delight.
My name is Nish Kumar. Thank you very much. Goodnight!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Award-winning comedian, Nish Kumar, stars in this brand new series showcasing some of the hottest comedic talent on the circuit. Here he discusses the benefits of having an ‘ethnically ambitious’ face and reveals the true extent of his pessimistic tendencies. Joining Nish is Canadian-born comedian, Mae Martin, who gives her own unique take on living as a legal-alien in London and what her prim-parents make of it all. In a move away from the shiny floor style stand-up shows, Live From The BBC is filmed at the intimate setting of the Radio Theatre.