Because I’m Shappi: clap along as Shappi Khorsandi heads on tour
- Brian Donaldson
- 12 March 2015
The comedian reflects on the 'haphazard zigzag' towards her dreams in her new show
Following up shows such as Asylum Speaker and The Distracted Activist, the Tehran-born Shappi Khorsandi has been doing the comedy thing for the best part of 20 years. Dubbed by the New Statesman (the mag rather than that awful Tory played by the late Rik Mayall) as ‘seriously funny and surprisingly filthy’, she has had quite a life story to share on stage.
At the age of 11, she and her family fled Iran when her satirist father upset Ayatollah Khomeini. Settling in west London, she lived much of her childhood looking for assassins under the bed and terrorists in the closet after police informed them that a plot to kill her dad had been uncovered. Thankfully, he is alive and well and popping up in stories throughout her new show, Because I’m Shappi.
Surely all that long-term anxiety must have had an effect?
Khorsandi has been open in interviews and on stage about the OCD and bulimia she suffered during her 20s. ‘It is no different to drugs,’ she said of her bulimia in 2009. ‘It’s a need for oblivion. It numbs everything. It’s disconnecting from the world. You just live in a fog of food.’
What do her press folk say about her new show?
Stuff like this: ‘Reflecting on the good things, she celebrates her haphazard zigzag towards her dreams. She introduces us to friends, family and total strangers who have helped her on her personal Yellow Brick Road.’ And this: ‘She has whip-crack jokes and is effortlessly funny as she handles every subject with a razor sharp wit, softened only by her deliciously mischievous delivery and endless charm.’ Sounds good, right?
She has a book out, you know?
A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English covers her bittersweet childhood in full while she also harbours ambitions to write novels for teens, having been inspired by the likes of Jacqueline Wilson and Robert C O'Brien's posthumous 1974 post-apocalyptic drama, Z for Zachariah. She also penned one of Sky 1’s Little Crackers, retelling the crush she had as a ten-year-old for Grange Hill’s Tucker Jenkins. In 2013, she admitted to being blown away by the experience of seeing her work making it onto the small screen. ‘It was insanely exciting! This thing that I wrote on my kitchen table while my son napped … ‘
Shappi Khorsandi is on tour now until Thu 11 Jun