Comedian Nish Kumar has opened up about the chaos that occurred at the Lord’s Taverners’ Christmas lunch on Monday, saying the audience was “more easily offended than I thought they would be.”
Kumar was heckled and his set was cut short after audience booed and threw a bread roll at him after he shared his opinion on a host of issues, including Brexit.
He told The Guardian: “I sort of knew what I was doing and I knew the risk. They were more easily offended than I thought they would be. I would like to apologise if I triggered any of them.”
Despite the controversy, the event raised £160,000 for the charity. Making light of the incident, Kumar wrote on Twitter: “In my defence, it was only one bread roll and it missed me.”
Footage on social media shows Kumar refusing to leave the stage even as the crowd continued jeering.
Referring to former Commons speaker John Bercow, Kumar said: “I’m not going anywhere. Absolutely not.
“I’m full Bercowing it. Absolutely Bercow. I know you want me to do it but I’m not gonna leave. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”
Mike Fitchett, a 68-year-old Taverners member from Oxfordshire, told Mail Online: “Harry Redknapp was tremendous and we were having a really good day, as we always do.
“Then this man, who is supposed to be a comedian, gets up and delivers what could only be described as a political speech.”
Fitchett added: “He should have just left the stage but he refused to do so.”
Greg James, an ambassador for the Lord’s Taverners, took to Twitter to criticise the behaviour of audience members.
He said: “Because I’m seeing some inaccurate press reports, I’d just like to say that the treatment of @MrNishKumar by some members of the crowd at the @LordsTaverners fundraising Christmas lunch yesterday was appalling.
“It’s a charity I was proud to be an ambassador of and the work they do with disadvantaged young people is extraordinary.
“But yesterday served as a timely reminder that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you have the right to abuse them verbally or physically.”
He said Kumar was performing for free.
He added: “I was embarrassed to be there. On an afternoon that was supposed to be about kindness, there was a distinct lack of it in the room.”