AUGUST 2016, two months after the Brexit vote, and in the courtyard of the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh comedian Nish Kumar is still reeling from what has happened to his country.

The night before I’d seen him make comedy out of colonialism and the Spice Girls (“I just think it’s very funny and very strange that the only non-white one is called Scary,” he tells me, laughing). But in the cold light of day it’s maybe harder to see the humour.

“It was a really ugly, ugly campaign,” he says, thinking back to the weeks that led up to the June 23 referendum. “We seem to have moved on very quickly from Jo Cox. It’s baffling how quickly we moved on from that. For Nigel Farage to say not a shot was fired was beyond distasteful. It’s baffling.”

Fast forward to London, January 2019, and if anything, Kumar sounds even more upset than he did in 2016. But maybe that’s to be expected. The idea of Brexit is now very much a messy reality rather than just a vaporous idea.

Kumar is clearly still sick of the vote, of the campaign and of all the poisons that have been stirred up as a result.

“The architects of Brexit are a cocktail of lying racists and buffoons. I don’t think even someone as cynical as me could have predicted how deeply stupid these people are.”

As we speak an alarm is blaring loud and ugly in the background. Real life as symbolism if you want to read it so.

How, you might ask of a comedian, do you make any of this funny? “That’s my job,” Kumar points out. “That’s literally my job.”

That it’s one he’s good at as might be rather more obvious now than it was in 2016. Back then he was a comedian making his way towards where he wanted to be. Today it’s fair to say he’s arrived.

In the two years between these two conversations he has travelled the world with his friend and fellow comedian Josh Dommett for the TV series Joel and Nish vs The World and, of course, he is the face of BBC Two’s news comedy The Mash Report.

In short, Nish, you’re a star now. “It might be playing a little fast and loose with the word ‘star’, but, certainly, I’m, more on television than I was once.”

The Mash Report is an ambition achieved in many ways. “As a kid who illegally streamed The Daily Show it has always been a goal of mine,” Kumar admits. “But one that didn’t seem particularly achievable because of the make-up of the British broadcasting landscape. I can’t help but feel very fortunate.”

In work at least. But the truth is he can’t get around, over or past what has been happening to Britain over the last couple of years.

“People often say, ‘you lost, get over it.’ I don’t think those people are reckoning with what I’ve lost personally. What I’ve lost is a sense that I’m welcome in my home.

“The truth is I saw that ‘Breaking Point’ poster and I thought the Britain I recognised is going to step back from this.

“And when we still sided with it there’s a part of you that goes ‘oh, f***, I don’t recognise this country anymore.’ That’s the thing I’m reckoning with.”

Kumar is a British Asian who is not sure where he stands these days. His mum came to the UK from Kerala in the 1970s. She would tell her son about how she went on anti-National Front marches back then. His dad arrived in the 1980s. Jobs were hard to come by because of the colour of his skin.

But his parents’ experience was not his. As a kid in Croydon he felt at home.

“I grew up between Stephen Lawrence and 9/11. There was this period where I felt quite confident about my status as a British person. I was 16 by the time of 9/11. I had already solidified my identity. If you can build up a sense of self-confidence if you’re non-white by the time you’re 15, 16 then that can’t be taken away from you.”

He now worries for younger generations who find themselves in a country that now seems far less welcoming.

For Kumar comedy was very much part of his childhood and teenage years. From an early age he thought it might be a career option. And anyway, he says, he wasn’t good enough at cricket.

He grew up loving the milky tea surrealism of Vic and Bob and Ross Noble. “But when it came to the stuff I wanted to do it was always located in the real world rather than set in an alternative reality.”

There’s a challenge in that, though. What do you have to say when you don’t know what you want to say?

“When you’re 23 maybe you don’t really know what your opinions are,” Kumar admits. “You’re still forming your opinions.”

He’s jealous of his contemporaries – Sarah Millican, Romesh Ranganathan, Aisling Bea – who seemed to take to the stage so easily. But then they were late-starters compared to Kumar. They knew who they were and what they wanted to talk about by the time they got up on stage.

“I think I spent a lot of my mid-twenties thinking it was a problem of my onstage persona. But, actually, it was my actual personality. I was still working out what kind of person I was.”

At 33 he is clearer on all of that now. Kumar is happy to call his comedy political. This weekend he brings his latest tour, It’s in Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves, to Scotland.

Expect routines on Brexit, Donald Trump and, he adds, the recent behaviour of some of his comedy peers and heroes. Back in 2016 he’d told me how much he admired Louis CK. His position has understandably shifted in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against the American comedian (who has conceded the charges are true).

“Some of the reckoning of that is in the show,” Kumar admits. “It’s just really gross. It’s very easy when you’re a cis-gender, heterosexual man to not be aware of the stuff that is happening. But the idea that your friends and co-workers were made to feel unsafe in their workplace is very upsetting.”

Daniel Sloss’s latest stand-up show X covers similar ground, I point out.

“I’m aware of some of the stuff that informed that show. Look, it’s high time that a lot of us, the dudes, stepped up, you know.”

Given that he comes from “hipster Guardianista London” does his anti-Brexit views meet any resistance on the road? “To be honest, I’m not sure I’m drawing on a representative sample of the United Kingdom,” he points out. “It’s quite a specific group of people who come out and see me.”

And those Leave voters who do venture to his show clearly have a sense of humour in the first place, he says. “They don’t get offended or upset.”

Can Nish Kumar say the same? Possibly not. But then that is what makes his comedy worth listening to.

Nish Kumar plays the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline tonight, the Pavilion, Glasgow tomorrow and the Lyceum in Edinburgh on Sunday.