Shappi Khorsandi


27 March 2015


It should be safe to assume that Iranian-born, British comedian Shappi Khorsandi is filling a token niche for Iranian comics at the moment, where only Omid Djalili perhaps succeeds in filling this Middle Eastern opening within the UK comedy circuit. However, Khorsandi’s multi-cultural vibe would play a secondary role in tonight’s performance at the Citizen’s Theatre in Glasgow. The show entitled “Because I’m Shappi” (presumably a play on Pharrell Williams’ annoyingly catchy hit ‘Happy’ from last year) was a welcome return for the comedienne who never performed a single gig during 2013. It would be unfair to criticise Khorsandi for this absence after relentlessly exhibiting her blend of absurdity on various tours since the late nineties, coupled with the paltry matter that she was detained from our viewing pleasure, giving birth. The role of the single mother and the way that families interact were central themes which flowed throughout the evening, and one which the audience would lap up.

Shappi Khorsandi 2012

The opening segment of Khorsandi’s performance was  executed witty reflections of Hen nights and the competitive cliques that materialise between friends from childhood, employment, and academic backgrounds. After a slow start to the second half considering personal issues ranging from flirting in supermarkets to family disorder, Khorsandi began to find her stride. No longer relying on audience responses to fill in small gaps, the comic’s musing of sex after divorce, during pregnancy, and other methods of gratification, had the audience savouring every anecdote and quip about her very personal encounters. Few names were censored; even fewer stories were spared.

After the love-in, attention was drawn towards social networking trolls and the hypocrisy of far right supporters living in the UK. Khorsandi’s intelligent knack for broaching ugly subjects and then slaying them with her sparkling wit is a remarkable lesson in comedic timing and demonstrated exactly why she has become a regular face on our screens. This stroll into shady territory continued in astute opinions concerning immigration and hostilities, using her father as the focal point for both the targeting of, and solution to, racism. Although our entertainer for the evening portrays herself as a screwy aunt teaching herself how to “talk to young people again”, it becomes apparent that there are depths that she has still to absorb – and strengths which led to an increased response from the audience as the night moved to a close.

With another gig across town at The Stand Comedy Club awaiting her, Khorsandi thanked the generous Glasgow crowd for their good spirits before departing. The Magners Comedy Festival may perhaps see better comics across the city tonight, but very few will endear themselves throughout the course of the evening as well as Shappi Khorsandi managed to.

Reviewer : Stephen Watt

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