Comedian Konstantin Kisin has written his first book and is seeking to adapt his free speech podcast for television, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.
From the personal perspective of his family background and their suffering during the Stalinist Purges, Kisin, who came to the UK in 1995, makes a series of "warnings" about the social direction of the West, arguing that "some of the trends that we're seeing in modern Western society match up with what people experienced in the past".
Likening the tone of his memoir to that of his tweets, the comic, who co-hosts the YouTube channel and podcast Triggernometry with fellow comedian Francis Foster, told BCG: "It's a combination of commentary, humour and pisstaking.
"There are plenty of jokes in there. But there are some things I think are important to say, with serious chapters where jokes would be inappropriate."
Promising to add greater historical context to current social debates, he claims that "very, very few people who talk about privilege understand just how privileged they are to be living in the West, one of the most prosperous, successful societies ever."
And as part of his research, he spoke to family members, including his grandmother, who was born in a gulag.
"Asking her how they ended up in these prison camps, what they did wrong, how they reacted to it, how they conducted themselves ... there were some very powerful moments that I hadn't known about before" he said. "It gave me another perspective."
He claims that An Immigrant's Love Letter to the West will deliver "truth bombs", particularly on the controversial issue of slavery and its legacy.
"It will be quite difficult for people who've been fed a particular narrative" he suggests. "It acknowledges the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade but also that of the trans-Saharan trade, which took black Africans to the Middle East ... The slave trade only stopped because the Western powers forced other nations to stop it. That's not an easy message for people to hear because we've been taught to believe that we are uniquely evil."
Kisin, who came to prominence in 2018 when he went public with his decision to not sign a "safe space" agreement to treat topics such as racism, sexism and homophobia respectfully for a gig at the School of Oriental & African Studies' student union in London, has said he will "never" return to the stand-up circuit following the coronavirus pandemic, continuing to channel his comedic instincts into the Triggernometry podcast and its live shows instead.
He and Foster launched Triggernometry in 2018 as an outlet for free speech and discussion of controversial subjects such as the "culture wars". He identifies politically as a centrist, describing perceptions of the podcast as right-leaning "absurd".
Triggernometry's YouTube channel alone has attracted almost 28million views. And Kisin maintains that "we're having all sorts of difficult conversations that you're not seeing on TV, you're not hearing on the radio. The success of the show is that it's filled a vacuum".
Having watched Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe "religiously" when it aired, he argues that there's now a gap "in the market for cutting-edge, hard satire that is balanced and unbiased". And he confirms that he and Foster are in the "early stages" of discussions with production companies about adapting Triggernometry for television.
A memoir by comedian Konstantin Kisin.
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