Shappi Khorsandi: Oh My Country! From Morris Dancing to Morrissey
A fun but confusing hour with a principled woman
This article is from 2016.
Shappi Khorsandi felt proud to be booed at a Belfast gig. The club owner comforted her afterwards, saying they never like 'British' comedians. In her 16-year stand-up career, Khorsandi has already covered her background in detail, fleeing Iran after her poet dad received death threats, arriving in the UK as a three-year-old refugee and settling into middle-class Kensington life. But Brexit gives her fresh impetus to thoughtfully analyse her own assimilation into British culture, and discuss nationality and 'foreignness'.
Maybe she's paving the way for future Somalian and Polish comedians, she jokes, before acting out a very funny argument between her children: a verbose, pompous little boy with RP vowels, and a melodramatic little girl who she describes as 'a mad Middle Eastern woman'.
She mentions her anti-racist activism, visits to Calais refugee camps and bumping into Jeremy Corbyn 20 years ago while campaigning for homeless people. Clearly she's a principled woman with a strong urge to challenge society's hypocrisies and her own contradictions. But some anecdotes sound too do-gooder or jar, such as when she asks a man in the front to unscrew her water bottle, then coyly teases that's her 'feminist' bit. An entertaining, if confusing, comedy voice.
The Stand, until 28 Aug (not 15), 8.30pm, £12 (£10).