Nik Coppin is Not Racist
Nik Coppin @ Austral Hotel – Red Room
9:45pm, Tue 5 Mar 2013
I’d like to consider Nik Coppin a mate; we’ve certainly shared more daytime-street-chats and late-night pizzas at San Giorgio’s than any other artist. And, despite the amount of alcohol that may have tainted those late-night sessions, I’d like to think that I’ve got a pretty good idea about who he is… about what he is.
And one thing that Nik Coppin is not is racist… despite what Peter Goers may think.
During a Fringe-related promo interview in 2012, Coppin appeared on Goers’ ABC Radio show and, in the course of conversation, mentioned a second-hand anecdote related to racism within the AFL; the banter that followed led to Goers throwing him out of the studio and labelling him a “racist”.
Which seems a little odd, since Coppin’s own experience in growing up “half-black” (half-Jamaican, half-caucasian English) resulted in being the subject of racism himself. You’d imagine that Nik would be a little… well, sensitive to the issue; indeed, racism (as well as class distinctions et al) have been a staple of his act for a few years now.
Still: at least Goers’ accusations provided the basis for this show.
Coppin uses the incident – and the subsequent legal pursuance for an apology – as the central theme for the performance, and it works pretty bloody well. He drops into material familiar from other gigs, but the constant theme of race leaves the show feeling tighter than a duck’s chuff – I was certainly never thinking that there was any filler.
With a chatty, affable style, he’s immediately likeable – not a bad effort for a purported racist. And the closing couple of minutes is some of the sweetest, most heartfelt comedy about racism that I’ve ever heard… which may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it really is quite a lovely closer.
In short, Nik Coppin is Not Racist is the most cohesive set that I’ve seen Coppin perform… it’s just a shame that he had to be defamed to create it.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 5, 2013