When UK comedian Nish Kumar found himself turned into a viral meme, it posed some interesting questions
So Nish, when did your face get stolen?
In September 2012 I was sat in my house when I received an email from my friend that said “I assume you’ve heard about this” and had a link to a website called Quickmeme.com. On opening the site, I found out that a picture of me had been turned into a meme called ‘The Confused Muslim’. He had assumed it was some sort of elaborate publicity stunt. It was not.
What were the impacts of having your face stolen?
I was absolutely baffled, mainly because I’m not as Muslim. So what’s happened here is a website called ‘The Confused Muslim’ has confused me with being a Muslim.
What was the genesis of the show? How did it get from meme to an hour show?
I was really offended when I saw the meme and I couldn’t work out why. It wasn’t offensive to me that they had taken the picture without permission, or that they thought I was a Muslim – but I felt like the idea of not being able to interpret why I was offended would be a good starting point for a show.
What's the format of the show?
It’s a stand-up show that starts with the story of me discovering the meme and then uses that incident as a springboard to discuss why we are offended. There are stories about incidents in my life where I’ve been offended and some stuff about the Rushdie affair and how offence manifests itself in unhelpful ways. It is funny though. I’m aware that my description makes it sound like an essay.
Did you ever consider converting to Islam to live up to your own hype?
Not really, I love sausages too much.
What was the show you were doing when the original pic was stolen?
It was a show called Who is Nish Kumar? The title for this one is a response to that question. I’m thinking about persisting with the ‘question one year, answer the next’ format, although I worry I’ll run out of question words and end up calling a show Whence Nish Kumar? You don’t hear a lot of ‘whence’ these days.
Where were you and what were you doing when you found out?
I was sat in my house in my pants eating a chocolate bar and checking my emails. You definitely didn’t need that mental image. Sorry.