Shappi Khorsandi

  • The List
  • 26 October 2006


Shappi Khorsandi hasn’t quite been on one of those legendary road to Damascus ventures (she’s of Iranian descent, not Syrian, for one thing), her jaunt Edinburgh-wards in August still represented something of a massive sea change. Not in the Moses parting sense though, but in the way that she has obliterated almost all the memories of her less than glorious trip to the Fringe in 2003. Inspired by Omid Djalili, she picked herself up and showed that there was enough material in her armoury to match her appealing stage presence. In hindsight, her tame debut show might have been down to her problems with eating disorders or her status as an asylum seeker while her satirist father was being stalked by assassins under the sway of the Iranian regime. Only a hugely determined artist can recover from all that and come back stronger.

While the critics utterly crucified Khorsandi three years ago, she rose again with a strong show which very nearly earned her a slot on the first post-Perrier comedy shortlist. The Eddies, as it’s known to some. With Asylum Speaker, this diminutive comic with the vast wit spoke amusingly of her oddball childhood and the philosophical dilemmas and everyday conflicts of being a young Anglo-Iranian woman. So, is Shappi Khorsandi the Lazarus of stand-up comedy? Well, maybe. One final, shoehorned and utterly inappropriate biblical reference: Khorsandi’s partner is a nice man who once played in Rich Hall/Otis Lee Crenshaw’s band. His name? Christian Reilly, of course. (Brian Donaldson) n The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 7 Nov; the Stand, Glasgow, Wed 8 Nov.

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