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13th Jul 2019

COMEDY BOX: Why you need to watch… Kurd Your Enthusiasm

A slick, almost American-style hour of sharp gags, whip-smart observations and cock-sure polemic. Kae Kurd flies through his hour with a breezy confidence, and doesn't apologise for a second of it.

Nooruddean Choudry

Who: Kae Kurd

What: Kurd Your Enthusiasm

Where: YouTube


If there’s a theme running through Kae Kurd’s debut comedy special, it’s defiant authenticity. Kae is a product of his singular background and circumstance, and that filters through a slick, almost American-style hour of sharp gags, whip-smart observations and cock-sure polemic. He flies through his hour with a breezy confidence and doesn’t apologise for a second of it.

Sure there are very clear influences in his patter, but he embraces them and provides citations. When Kae tells us that he worked his comedy apprenticeship on the black/urban circuit, that makes perfect sense. You can see that. When he explains that most of his early inspirations were from the other side of the Atlantic, again, it figures. That all made him the performer he is today.

Perhaps Kae’s greatest skill is taking a very specific and unique experience – that of growing up in Brixton as a second-generation refugee of Kurdish descent – and making it absolutely relatable and accessible to a mainstream audience. He does it with intelligence and a mischievous charm, explaining hugely macro circumstances with micro scenarios.

So he’ll outline the essential Kurdish identity crisis – belonging to the largest ethnic group in the world without an independent country – and relate it to not having a national team to point to in the World Cup (“I felt Welsh…”), or distill the gentrification of Brixton into exactly the kind of beverage that is now prevalent on every street corner (“…it is quite symbolic that coffee is essentially a black or black mixture with a bit of white on top.”)

He has no time for fugazi culture. He describes the right to identify as you genuinely feel as beautiful, citing transgender acceptance as a wholly positive example. But he cannot stand the likes of Rachel Dolezal and her bizarre ‘transracial’ claims. Nor is he impressed with keyboard activists who do nothing but sign online petitions to “satisfy their own conscience.”

Maybe that’s because Kae is himself defiantly authentic. He knows what it’s like to have a sense of not quite belonging as the son of refugees; he can reference his own father, who was part of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting Saddam Hussein’s tyranny in Iraq; and he can tell anyone who implores him to leave politics out of it that “my mere existence is political, bruv.”

Kae is a product of all of his experiences, and very unique in that tapestry. It’s intriguing – and exciting – that a performer with such a slick mainstream swagger is able to weave so many socio-political issues into his act. At the end of this excellent special he signs off by championing the alternative voice. There was no need – the previous 59 minutes did that.

You can watch Kurd Your Enthusiasm below, and follow Kae Kurd here.