Kumar plays this room with the swagger of a man who thinks he’s on to a winner with this set, and it’s with a good deal of justification. His left-wing socio-political comedy is sharp, original, timely and, as he readily and knowingly keeps acknowledging, very clever, although it does rather make an assumption about his audience’s engagement with the issues that might be correct at his own gigs, but in the environment of a festival might be a little presumptuous.
Delivery is fast, confident, just belligerent enough. Topics are worthy of exploration: Are there spheres of life which are naturally left or right wing? What exactly is people’s issue with a black James Bond? You can perhaps trace a line back to Baddiel and Newman on The Mary Whitehouse Experience for the combination of right-on humour, married to casual pop-cultural knowledge, delivered with a cocky certainty and self-satisfaction.
He’s good with non-political material too. His spoof of the James Bond themes might not stand alone if that was his act, but in the context of his set is highly amusing. His simple storytelling of what happened when he slashed his hand open is also perhaps better than the analysis of public services that surrounds it.
There are small weaker patches – the segment on the failure of the left is too heavy on analysis, a little light on laughs for this setting. Plus, even if you’re in agreement with him on their tenor, it’s possible to take issue with elements of his arguments (and since he does style his comedy as an argument, legitimate to do so.) Political correctness is about intent, not about words, like he says. But that’s not how it plays out in a world where Benedict Cumberbatch is taken to task for saying “coloured”, so not as obvious a point as he thinks it is.
These are just small bumps in the road though, and the latter is part of a crescendo to a grand climax on political correctness, so easily forgiven. In the round, it’s a strong set, boldly delivered.