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Nish Kumar destroys Ricky Gervais’ anti-trans ‘comedy’ in resurfaced video

Emma Powys Maurice August 24, 2021
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Comedians Nish Kumar and Ricky Gervais (Roberto Ricciuti/Nicholas Hunt/Getty)

Comedian Nish Kumar is earning praise after a recording of him eviscerating Ricky Gervais’ anti-trans “comedy” routine resurfaced online.

Gervais has been widely criticised for his over-reliance on cheap jokes about trans people, such as when he mocked and deadnamed Caitlyn Jenner at the 2016 Golden Globes.

He went on to dedicate a 15-minute segment of his 2018 Netflix special Humanity to the controversy, the punchline being that he was now “self-identifying as a chimpanzee” – the same tired gag that right-wing comics have leaned on for the best part of a decade.

Several comedians have challenged Gervais on his “lazy” anti-trans comedy, including Frankie Boyle and James Acaster, and now Nish Kumar has stepped into the ring.

This week fans shared an audio recording of Kumar laying into Gervais during his standup show It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves which toured the UK in 2018 and 2019.

The star of BBC Two’s The Mash Report pulled no punches as he slammed Gervais’ routine as a “f**king piece of s**t” before building up to the battle cry: “F**k Ricky Gervais, f**k Ricky Gervais!”

“What he’s doing is not edgy or interesting,” Kumar said. “He seems to think that it makes him an edgy or interesting comedian, it’s not.

“All he is, is just the same as every other rich white dude comedian who gets too successful, runs out of ideas, and so just s**ts on the latest minority group. In the 1970s that was my f**king family, it’s Black and minority ethnic people, in the 80s it was gay people.

“Trans people are just the latest to get it in the neck from comedians who can’t be bothered to try at their jobs anymore. I cannot stand there and watch another dogs**t comedian go, ‘Oooh if a woman can identify as a man, maybe I’ll identify as a chair’ – why don’t you identify as a good comedian you hack motherf**kers!”

Nish Kumar also took the time to destigmatise pronouns before tearing down one tired argument used to oppose trans rights.

“There are a lot of people, most of them cisgendered heterosexual men, who say things like ‘Oh, if you let trans women use women’s bathrooms then they’ll do sex attacks,'” he noted.

“Now there’s a few problems with that… firstly to be fair, they don’t say ‘do sex attacks’. Secondly, trans people are overwhelmingly the victims of sexual violence more so than they are the perpetrators of it by an unbelievably large amount.

“And thirdly, do you honestly think that if there’s someone out there willing to commit a sex attack… if there’s someone out there, regardless of their gender identity, who’s done the logical gymnastics required [to] perpetrate the worst thing one human can do to another – do you think they’re being put off by a sign on a door?”

Nish Kumar’s astute reading of the issue is poles apart from Ricky Gervais, and as his sweary routine gained traction online many new listeners became instant fans.

Here’s to more great comedians proving it’s possible to be funny without punching down!

Related topics: caitlyn jenner, Nish Kumar, ricky gervais, transphobia

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