Comic Nish Kumar booed off stage at charity bash

UK
Nish Kumar Image copyright Getty Images

Comedian Nish Kumar was booed off stage after making Brexit jokes at a charity event on Monday night.

Kumar, who hosts the BBC’s Mash Report, was performing at the Lord’s Taverners annual charity cricket lunch.

“You are the only audience in my entire 13-year history of performing that have actually thrown something at me,” Kumar said, after a bread roll hit the stage.

Radio 1 DJ and Taverners’ ambassador Greg James said the behaviour of some of the crowd was “appalling”.

James added he was “embarrassed to be there”.

The event, at London’s Grosvenor House, was raising money to give vulnerable children a start in life through sport.

Speaking to The Guardian on Tuesday, Kumar said: “I made what I considered to be some extremely mild jokes about Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees Mogg, Theresa May and the Brexit process for not going well.”

He said the audience was more “easily offended” than he thought they might be.

Video footage of the event showed Kumar being interrupted by hecklers, one of whom shouted “don’t do politics”.

“It’s an election season and I thought it would be interesting to spark a conversation here,” explained the comedian, “but clearly the conversation I’ve sparked is, ‘this guy is a bit of an [expletive].’

“I did think it would be nice to come here and talk to some people who had a different political outlook to me, and I thought it’d be interesting for me to share my perspective – but clearly that’s not been the case.”

He added: “What I don’t want to do is to detract from any of the fantastic work done by the charity,” for which he received a round of applause.

‘Not gonna leave’

But as the routine continued, the audience began a “slow clap”, after which Kumar refused to leave the stage.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Kumar said. “Absolutely not. I’m full Bercow-ing it,” referring to the former House of Commons speaker John Bercow.

“I know you want me to do it but I’m not gonna leave. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

Kumar was eventually joined by the host of the event, who escorted him off stage.

“Can I shake your hand, sir?” he asked. “Ladies and gentlemen, Nish gave his time to come and support this charity today, and I think the very least we can do is say thank you for doing that.”

Afterwards, the comic took to Twitter to make light of the crowd’s reaction.

He also posted a 1966 clip of Bob Dylan mocking newspaper reports claiming that his latest concert inspired mass walkouts.

Reflecting on the incident, he 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.”

The BBC has contacted Lord’s Taverners for a comment.

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