Kae Kurd is a comedian. His debut show, Kurd Your Enthusiasm, features witty social observations and stories of coming to the UK as a refugee and growing up in south London. We caught up for a chat before his appearances at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
D: What people, places or things inspire you?
K: People that are unashamedly themselves and people that smile in the face of adversity. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s for his ambition as an immigrant. Malcolm X for his charisma and never-say-die attitude. The O2 for enabling a single person to lure that many people into one room.
D: What artists turn you on?
K: I really liked Alicia Keys’ first album. I always had this weird feeling that she’d be a wonderful mum. I just get the vibe that she’d let her kids express themselves in rhythmic dance at the kitchen table. Emeli Sandé has that kind of vibe as well, like she’ll take you to your first concert and introduce you to your favourite rapper. They just feel genuine I guess.
D: What is your ultimate ambition?
K: There’s a few: I’d love to get into acting in Hollywood films, I’d love to be able to help engage a lot more people in politics and try and have a positive influence in people’s lives, but above all I just want to make as many people happy as possible.
D: What got you started as a comedian?
K: The desire to drive to Liverpool on a Wednesday night for £50. No, I was always the kid that would give presentations in assembly at school, so I guess it just made sense. Plus I realised I could get paid to work for about 20 minutes an evening and not have to wake up at six in the morning to be stood in someone’s armpit on the district line in the middle of June.
D: What has been the biggest lesson along the way?
K: To enjoy the journey. In any creative field it’s easy to get demotivated when you compare yourself to other people and wonder why you haven’t got to the pinnacle of your career, but every setback builds your character and makes you stronger. A quick rise often brings a quick demise.
D: Who was your first crush?
K: The Pink Ranger from Power Rangers. Oh My Days. If Kimberley didn’t do it for you when you were six years old, I don’t know what was wrong with you. Also, Blue Peter presenter Katy Hill. It was a spiritual experience whenever she said, “Here’s something I made earlier.”
D: Who are your favourite fictional heroes?
K: Albus Dumbledore. The man kept his composure at all times and didn’t make rash decisions. He’s a great leader, and a fantastic orator. Plus that beard was ridiculous. Timon in The Lion King’s impact on the world is also understated. Hakuna Matata is profound; no matter how mad it gets, don’t worry.
D: What do you like to eat or drink?
K: I was always a bit of a fat kid when I was growing up, so I love food. I’m a big fan of the potato. What else is that versatile? It can become chips, crisps, wedges, you can mash them, roast them, boil them. It can perform on any platform – it’s the Reggie Yates of the food world. Respect the potato my friends.
D: What is your worst trait?
K: This is the bit where I sound like a candidate for The Apprentice isn’t it? – “I think that my worse trait is that I’m always awesome.”
D: What would you most like to change in the world?
K: Coming from a Kurdish family I’d make sure that Kurdish people had an independent state. I mean, I don’t know how I could change that but, hey, you asked the question.
D: What talent do you wish you had?
K: I wish I could sing. I’ve got friends that are singers and when I see how people act when they sing, it makes every other talent look insignificant. They turn into Play-Doh.
D: Unpaid endorsement: what can you recommend?
K: The Waze app. I’d literally be lost without it. It’s such a show off. It’ll take me down every back road known to man just to be like, “Yeah, I know the roads, bruv.” I don’t know how people used to use A–Z’s.
D: What is your idea of happiness?
K: Being healthy and being able to do what you want when you want. Having to book holiday time off work and getting rejected is one of the worst feelings in the world. How are you telling me how and when I can use my time?
You can see Kae live at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 2–27th August.