August 1985 (age 38)
Tooting, London, England
|Education||St Olave's Grammar School|
|Alma mater||Grey College, Durham|
Nishant Kumar (born 1985) is a British stand-up comedian, television presenter, political commentator, and podcast host. He became known as the host of satirical comedy The Mash Report, now known as Late Night Mash. He has also presented BBC Radio 4 Extra's topical comedy show Newsjack, the Comedy Central series Joel & Nish vs The World, the BBC Radio 4 programme The News Quiz and Hello America on Quibi. Since May 2023, he has been the co-host of the political podcast Pod Save the UK.
Early life and education
Kumar was born in Tooting in 1985 and raised in Croydon, south London. He attended St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington before reading English with history at Durham University as a member of Grey College. He is of Indian descent: his parents are from Kerala. His father chose the surname Kumar for the family when he immigrated to the UK.
He has been performing as a solo stand-up performer in shows since 2013. He also held a regular guest spot on Josh Widdicombe's Radio X show between 2013 and 2015, where he presented the feature "Nishipedia".
Kumar has also taken part in a number of topical news programmes:
- In February 2015, he was announced as the host for the twelfth series of the BBC Radio 4 Extra series Newsjack.
- He has been a regular co-host of The Bugle podcast since October 2016.
- His series Spotlight Tonight with Nish Kumar first aired on BBC Radio 4 in March 2017.
- He was a guest on the BBC comedy show Frankie Boyle's New World Order in June 2017
- In 2020, he hosted the first of 3 series of The News Quiz, with Angela Barnes and Andy Zaltzman hosting the other two series. Since then, Zaltzman became the permanent host, therefore replacing Miles Jupp.
He has performed solo Edinburgh shows since 2012:
- 2012: 'Who Is Nish Kumar?'
- 2013: 'Nish Kumar Is a Comedian'
- 2014: "Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity".
- 2015: "Long word... Long word... Blah Blah Blah... I'm so clever" at The Pleasance Theatre, which continued as a UK tour running from October to December 2015. The show was nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award.
- 2016: "Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud", which received a number of favourable reviews. A joke from the show was featured in The Daily Telegraph's list of the 37 funniest jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe. This show continued as a national tour.
As a live performer, Kumar has appeared at a number of festivals and events, including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, New Zealand Comedy Festival, Leicester Comedy Festival and the comedy tent at Latitude Music Festival. In 2017, he competed in series 5 of Taskmaster with Bob Mortimer, Sally Phillips, Aisling Bea and Mark Watson. The same year, Kumar completed a six-part travel series for Netflix with fellow comedian Joel Dommett, titled Joel & Nish vs The World. In 2018 he appeared on Netflix's Comedians of the World.
He has also appeared as a guest on Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, Virtually Famous, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Hypothetical, The Big Fat Quiz, Russell Howard's Stand Up Central, Sweat the Small Stuff, QI, Live from the BBC and The Alternative Comedy Experience.
In December 2019, Kumar was booed off stage at a Christmas charity lunch event for the Lord's Taverners. The performance, for which Kumar was not paid, included political jokes on Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May and the ongoing Brexit process. Following the event, the Lord's Taverners released a statement emphasising the apolitical nature of the organisation and expressing that they did not support the behaviour of some members of the crowd, which included booing, heckling and the throwing of a bread roll. In response to the event, Kumar told The Guardian: "I'm sort of amazed by how fascinated people are by the whole thing. It's not the first time I've been booed off stage [...] I consider it the life of being a comedian – they have a right to boo me."
Kumar hosted the topical BBC comedy show The Mash Report from its launch in 2017 to its cancellation in 2021. It was speculated that the series was dropped due to its perceived left-leaning political position, although the BBC made no official statement on this. Kumar expressed frustration over the lack of clarity, saying "They need to make a definitive statement that it was not a political decision. Because what precedent does that set otherwise?" Rights to the show were picked up by the television channel Dave, who began broadcasting new episodes as Late Night Mash, with Kumar and the main cast returning, in September 2021. In October 2021, Kumar revealed that he was stepping down from Mash after five seasons, four on the BBC and one on Dave, to "spend more time with [his] emotional problems."
- Pattenden, Mike. "My Hols: Nish Kumar". The Times. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
- Herring, Richard; Kumar, Nish (17 February 2021). "Nish Kumar – RHLSTP". Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
- Curtis, Nick (9 May 2023). "Political firebrand Nish Kumar: 'I can't be both problematic and an irrelevance'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
- Khan, Coco. "My Favorite End: A Comedian's Guide to South London". New York. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- Greenstreet, Rosanna (2 February 2019). "Nish Kumar: 'It was either comedy or being Jimi Hendrix'". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
- Maxwell, Dominic (21 September 2016). "Nish Kumar: 'It wasn't a masterclass in heckler response. It was a furious man reacting'". The Times.
- Laker, Chris (28 July 2017). "Who is Nish Kumar? Everything you need to know about the host of BBC Two's The Mash Report". BT Group.
- "Nish Kumar plays life like it is as a comedian and confidence trickster". 4 April 2014.
- "Nish Kumar: 'Do they just hate my jokes?'". the Guardian. 16 May 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- "Gentlemen of Leisure". Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- Humphrey, Florianne (13 June 2017). "The Durham Revue presents 'Allstars' review". Palatinate. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- Kettle, James (22 June 2013). "This week's new live comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Nish Kumar to host Newsjack". Chortle.co.uk. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "The Bugle". The Bugle Podcast. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Spotlight Tonight with Nish Kumar". BBC Radio 4. BBC. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- "Frankie Boyle's New World Order – Election Night Special". Retrieved 12 June 2017 – via YouTube.
- "BBC – Nish Kumar, Angela Barnes and Andy Zaltzman to host The News Quiz – Media Centre". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
- "Who Is Nish Kumar?". Nish Kumar. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- "Nish Kumar: Ruminations..." Soho Theatre.
- "Nish Kumar: Long Word... Long Word... Blah Blah Blah... I'm so Clever, Edinburgh Fringe review: A trenchant and clear-sighted hour". The Independent. Independent Digital News & Media. 21 August 2015. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Nish Kumar: Long Word..." The Pleasance Theatre.
- "Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud". Edinburgh Festival. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- Logan, Brian (17 August 2016). "Nish Kumar review – smart skewering from Britain's cheery clown-preacher". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "Comedy review: Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud". The Scotsman. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "Edinburgh Festival Fringe: the 37 funniest jokes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "Nish Kumar (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)". Daily Review. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
- "Taskmaster: Alex Horne on series 5, casting, remakes, the future". Den of Geek. 12 September 2017.
- "Joel & Nish vs The World". Netflix. Retrieved 6 October 2018.[permanent dead link]
- "Comedians Of The World: Nish Kumar – Very Clever Boy : Reviews 2019 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Comedians Watching Football With Friends – Sky1 Comedy". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- "Comic Nish Kumar booed off stage at charity bash". BBC News. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- "Nish Kumar gets frosty reception at Lord's Taverners charity feast". The Guardian. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- "Lord's Taverners statement". Lord's Taverners. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- "Interview: Comedian Nish Kumar on Bread, Comedy, and Heckling". Retrieved 7 December 2019.
- "Nish Kumar gets frosty reception at Lord's Taverners charity feast". The Guardian. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
- Bennett, Steve. "Goodbye America : News 2020 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- Quibi - Hello America, archived from the original on 20 December 2020, retrieved 6 October 2020
- "Quibi announces satirical news show from British comic Nish Kumar". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- Tantimedh, Adi (10 July 2020). "Hello America: Nice to See Nish Kumar But a Baffling Quibi Choice". Bleeding Cool News And Rumors. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- Pedersen, Erik (23 April 2020). "Quibi Adds 'Hello America,' A Satirical News Show With Comic Nish Kumar". Deadline. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- "The Mash Report: BBC satirical comedy cancelled after four years". BBC News. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
- Ibekwe, Desiree (1 April 2021). "His BBC Comedy Show Is Canceled. His Political Fight Continues". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- @davechannel (28 October 2021). "We interrupt your doomscrolling for a message from @MrNishKumar" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Curtis, Nick (9 May 2023). "Political firebrand Nish Kumar: 'I can't be both problematic and an irrelevance'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- "BBC Radio 4 - You'll Do, Living Together with Nish Kumar and Amy Annette". BBC. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- "Nish Kumar: 'It was either comedy or being Jimi Hendrix'". the Guardian. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- "Sunday with Nish Kumar: 'I mainly laze around the house'". the Guardian. 5 June 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- "Interview: Nish Kumar". Idler. Retrieved 31 December 2022.