Comedian Nik Coppin was once kicked off a radio station in Australia for using ‘racist’ language. It led the comic, who is half-Barbadian, to create a routine based on the laziness and ignorance that underpins prejudice. He’s the headline act at this weekend’s comedy night at The Warehouse
Stand-up comedian Nik Coppin, the star of Sunday night’s comedy show at The Warehouse, is noted back home in Britain for his chummy charm and the ease with which he befriends his audience. That’s not to say he’s superficial. Much of his material addresses the racism that has dogged him all his life – his mother is English and father hails from Barbados.
During a bizarre radio interview in Australia in 2012, Coppin was himself labelled a racist. This led him to create Mixed Racist, a routine where he examines the laziness and ignorance that underpins prejudice. He also once had a routine called Spiders, based on his arachnophobia, which presents him with an interesting opportunity on his first visit to Cambodia.
“I’ve seen some stomach-churning videos of people eating spiders in the markets here,” he said this week. “Although, given that I don’t really like them, I feel I must try at least a tarantula leg or two!”
In Sunday’s show – part of regular night Comedy Bookers – he promises some diversions into the world of his “inner geek” as well as some lively observations from his travels around the world. He will be supported by Phnom Penh-based comics Sam Thomas and Scotty Muldoon.
Event organiser and MC Steven Halcrow said he’s happy with the show’s format now that they’ve had the chance to fine-tune the details over the course of three lower-key events hosted since June.
Halcrow, a comedian who honed his skills before tough audiences in his native Glasgow, enjoys performing in Cambodia, where he feels the varied nature of the crowd brings a different dimension to the evenings.
“The crowd here is pretty smart, which means you can work with more interesting, intelligent material,” he said. “Most of the people here are educated and they’ve had the wit to do something about the fact that they might not be finding life at home completely satisfying, which is why they’re here. That makes them more interesting to perform in front of.”
Comedy nights at The Warehouse should become a monthly feature from January next year, according to Halcrow, who is looking forward to bringing in some strong acts from around the world as well as building up some more locally based talent.
In October, Rajesh Palath, originally from India but based in Siem Reap, entertained the crowd with a genuinely funny and professionally delivered routine. But most of the talent is still in Phnom Penh, where about 15 comedians are honing their craft.
One of the best of those, said Halcrow, is Thomas, an American who has finessed a laid-back style. He’s coming back to Siem Reap this weekend for the second time. “He opened up the first gig here in June, and did a great job. He’s a really funny guy, and he’s looking forward to coming back again,” Halcrow said.
Doors open at 8pm, and tickets are $4.