It’s a bold move to name your stand-up tour after a quote from Terminator 2.
But then, Nish Kumar is a bold comedian. He combines intelligent wit with biting satire and isn’t afraid to nail his political views firmly to the liberal and, these days, very much anti-Brexit side of the flagpole.
That’s reflected in The Mash Report host calling his show, which arrives at Aberdeen’s Music Hall next Thursday, It’s In Your Nature To Destroy Yourselves.
“I love Terminator 2 and there are snatches of its dialogue as familiar to me as the names of various family members,” said Nish.
“I knew the show was going to be about the political situation we are in and that quote had been rattling around in my head for a while.
“In the scene it comes from, the Terminator and John Connor are watching two kids fight with toy guns and John Connor says to the Terminator ‘We’re not going to make it, are we?’ and the Terminator says ‘It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves’.
“I thought, you know what, that’s what’s happening, the Terminator wasn’t wrong. Say what you will about Arnie, but he was not wrong!”
Not that his show is just about the fiasco surrounding Brexit. Not a bit of it.
“There’s a bit of Trump, then there’s how I feel as a male comedian discovering a large number of the male comedians I idolised are the absolute worst people in society. There’s a lot of me just going ‘Why Louis CK, why?’”, he said referring to the disgraced US comedian who has admitted sexual misconduct.
“There’s stuff about racial profiling, then my experiences as a semi-notorious brown man in the media and my skirmishes with various provocateurs, which is the polite name for what they are.”
“But I swear to God it’s funnier than it sounds,” he added laughing.
Nish says he always wanted to do stand-up that reflected the news, drawing on his love of comedians like Chris Rock and Richard Prior, who always had a satirical and commentary edge to their work.
He makes no bones about this being his most political stand-up show to date – and his angriest.
“I’m just furious. I’m furious at the incompetence of the execution of Brexit. I’m furious that Boris Johnson still has a job. I’m furious that Jacob Rees-Mogg is anything other than a cartoon posh man. I’m furious about all of it,” said Nish.
But for all the clear passion, there is plenty of laughter running throughout his performance. And Brexit is still something we need to laugh about rather than grow bored with, he insists.
“I keep hearing the phrase ‘Brexit fatigue’ and that does frighten me,” he said. “The idea that people would somehow just get bored does genuinely frighten me. That inertia and apathy is what allows the worst elements in society to thrive. That sense of let’s just get on with it so it’s over is a thing I’m profoundly afraid of.
“Doing the sort of comedy I do and the kind of people who come to see me, I’m not convinced I’m changing anyone’s mind about anything, but by keeping it entertaining you keep people engaged, so we don’t end up sleepwalking into a catastrophe.”
Nish has built up a huge profile, not just through his stand-up work, but also his TV and radio appearances including hosting The Mash Report, a satirical and surreal look at politics and current affairs.
“It means that people come to the shows, but also that people know what you do. They are sort of expecting a certain tone and style. It’s great,” he said.
Nish is glad to be back on the road again, but he’s not one of those comedians who instantly leaps to the “live-before-telly” conclusion for his craft.
“I like doing them both, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “They both have differing and interesting pleasures. I love stand-up and can’t see a time when I don’t do stand-up. It’s the immediacy of it and lack of filtration. But it’s a double-edged sword. There is no one editing you, but there’s no one to share the blame when it goes badly.
“But I have come to really enjoy the television side of it because it’s so much more collaborative. I love working with the team of people I work with.”
Nish is very much looking forward to making a return to Aberdeen, bringing his unique view of Granite City audiences with him.
“I always have pretty good gigs in Aberdeen. It’s a very interesting dynamic in the room because half of the audience works for the oil industry and the other half despise it,” he said.
“It always ends up being a quite spiky gig. Unusually the division is not between performer and audience, but between different members of the audience. It’s mainly people heckling each other. It’s fun. I feel like I’m hosting Question Time or co-ordinating a discussion group.”
And for those turning up to catch his show at the Music Hall next week he has a simple message.
“It’s funnier than it sounds.”
Nish Kumar is at Aberdeen’s Music Hall next Thursday, February 6.