Saturday 25 January 2020

Nish Kumar does a Jo Brand

As it says on his name-tag (lest he forgets)

Just for prosterity, here's a comment from Monkey Brains that needs a post to itself
Incidentally, meant to mention I heard the News Quiz being used to promote violence against opponents of the Left. Nish Kumar said "...that HS2 would be shovel-ready...just like Laurence Fox's face." So next time Kumar comes out with his hypocritical "hope not hate" schtick.
Here's that 'joke' in context, should anyone wish to complain to the BBC about it:
Yes, this is a leaked report which suggests that HS2 could end up costing the government £106 billion. Work on HS2 was initially delayed when construction workers discovered that Yorkshire was actually a load-bearing county. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the massive decision on whether to go ahead with HS2 needs to be a fact-based, or at the very least inspired by one of the more recent episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine. Almost £9 billion has been spent on the project so far, and the London to Birmingham phase is said to be "shovel-ready" - a bit like Laurence Fox's face. 
It's little over a month since the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit ruled on Jo Brand's very similar battery acid 'joke' which it judged to have been "capable of causing offence beyond what was editorially justified", and that it "should have been edited out before transmission".

Wonder what possessed the programme’s producers to give this a free pass?


P.S. Nish was on Pointless Celebrities last week. There's always one, you know - the annoying celebrity who is trying far too hard to be funny, and laughing louder than anyone else, and clapping when no one else is clapping, and being unfunny and cringeworthy. Nish was that celebrity last week, embarrassing himself, his fellow guests, the studio audience and the audience at home. If only the studio audience had brought some shovels along.


  1. I didn't see Pointless Celebrities. I thought, to be fair (why? - he never is!) from a technical point of view Kumar does quite a good job of compering (there's an old-fashioned word) the News Quiz. If he was even-handed - and non-violent - with his humour he'd be OK I think. Anyway, I didn't immediately deploy the off-switch. There was a northern guy Jason someone who I think I've seen on TV - he was lively and not really PC. Angela someone had good delivery and timing as well, although she was obviously doing the anti-male Brand of humour. The embarrassing celeb on the News Quiz was Isabel Hardman from the Spectator trying to toady up to the Lefties with a lot of nasty anti-Boris material. Yes, she will get invited back.

  2. Here is the response of the BBC to a complaint regarding the recent "shovel-ready" comment made by Nish Kumar. With the exception of the redaction of the complainant's name, the following is verbatim, starting with the original complaint. Make of it what you will.



    Incitement to violence regarding Laurence Fox 

    Nish Kumar intimated that Laurence Fox's face should be hit with a shovel, by saying (apropos HS2) "... the London to Birmingham phase is said to be shovel-ready, a bit like Laurence Fox's face". This is incitement to violence, on a day-time family radio show. The show in question is Series 101, Episode 3. 


    Dear [redacted]

    Thank you for contacting us about The News Quiz on January 24.

    We raised your concerns regarding the reference to Laurence Fox with the programme team, bearing our editorial guidelines in mind. They respond:

    “The News Quiz is one of the most established comedy programmes on Radio 4, offering satirical and other comedic comment based on notable stories in the news. This particular line combined reference to that week’s developments on the future of HS2 with the notable public reaction that was continuing to Laurence Fox’s appearance on Question Time, reflecting the strength of public reaction in some quarters.

    We discussed the joke internally prior to broadcast, and felt that it was defendable as a play on HS2 Ltd’s own use of the phrase “shovel ready”. Nish is well-known for a tone that's occasionally confrontational. As a comedian from an ethnic minority, his act often touches on matters of race. Listeners may well expect him to be strongly opposed to Laurence Fox’s denials of racism, which emerged so controversially that week.

    It should be noted that News Quiz is broadcast in Radio 4’s most established comedy slot on weekdays at 6:30pm, to an adult audience used to hearing a very broad range of comedy from gentle wit to the most acerbic black humour and satire.

    We recognise that violence is a sensitive subject to be treated with care but, when taken in the context of a long-established comedy programme like The News Quiz, we consider that listeners would understand that the line was a dark joke, figurative and not to be taken seriously, and therefore did not condone any violent acts.”

    We make listener feedback like yours available to programmes and senior executives on our daily report. This ensures we’re aware of how things come across at home - thanks again for taking the time get in touch.

    BBC Complaints Team

  3. Should anyone need it for any reason, the BBC case number for the "shovel-ready" complaint which I wrote about earlier, is CAS-5895213-Q9L8Y7.


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