Making his Fringe debut, British-Kurdish comic Kae Kurd starts by making joking about Muslim-Jewish relations but moves on to semi-seriously discussing his Kurdish identity and emphasises the difficulties in identity growing up as a result of the lack of a Kurdish homeland. Kurd’s parents were resistance fighters against Saddam Hussein’s government during the Gulf War, a fact not lost on Kurd as he compares their struggle to modern day Twitter-heavy activism, which he jokes should be cured by having marches take place on 8am on a Monday, when nobody wants to go to a paid job let alone a march, to find out who is really dedicated.
Kurd also talks about the stigma of being a refugee and the label that the word “refugee” carries. He refutes the stereotypes that people hold of refugees being nothing more than scroungers that leech off British resources, although he also humorously mentions that his younger brothers, who were born in Britain, used to tease him about being a “refugee”. Fortunately, Kurd manages to propose a surreal new immigration strategy to counter these negative images – pitching asylum seekers against ordinary British people in a gladiatorial-style game show.
As well as questions of identity, Kurd also recreates the atmosphere of a black comedy circuit, dividing the audience up into Jamaicans, Nigerians, Ghanaians and the token white person, not only revealing the differences between white and black comedy audiences but providing an opportunity for Kurd to imagine black versions of Kevin Bridges, John Bishop and most hilariously, Michael McIntyre.
Kurd’s show begins to falter a little in its later section where he discusses his adjusting to quasi-middle-class life, covering well-worn comedic issues such as the embarrassment of being lactose intolerant and having to order soya milk and getting angry about the neighbour putting rubbish in his bin. However, even this section has some high points, with Kurd’s routine about gentrification in his native Brixton leading to a spot-on impression of a “gangsta” trying to order at Starbucks.
Kurd Your Enthusiasm is a witty and engaging debut that informs as well as entertains, with Kurd himself coming across well as a charismatic performer who has great potential for success.