If the title of Kae Kurd's debut Fringe hour, submitted somewhere back in early 2017, was just for the purposes of an opening joke...then it was worth it. It's a good one – slightly on the edge of what we're comfortable with, and largely setting the scene for a gig in which Kurd explores his strange, inbetween identity. He's the child of refugees; the soft artistic son of parents who were part of the Kurdish armed struggle against Saddam Hussein's Ba'athists; a child of the urban comedy circuit making waves on the 'mainstream'.
This gives Kurd an absolutely fascinating place to speak from. We wonder, sometimes, about the dividing line between comedy and argument – is it 'just art' or an intensely political form of communication? But it's hard to sit on the aesthetic fence when someone with Kurd's voice and wit talks of the ludicrousness of insisting immigrants speak English. That's all very well, says this British Muslim, brought up in Brixton among mainly Jamiacan expats, but what type of English will we insist upon? Gotcha.
It's delivered with a style and energy honed on the famously combatative urban circuit. He doesn't take our attention for granted. It's not a performance with complete polish: an attempt at imagining a situation where we expel a resident for every refugee that arrives is nice idea, but isn't as fertile a ground for laughs as the space he gives it. A Kendall Jenner/Pepsi ad joke is contrived, and the tortured punchline impossible to deliver with any comedic cadence. But have you ever stopped to consider the impact of gentrification on the gangbangers? Kae Kurd has.