Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shappi Khorsandi The Distracted Activist review - the stand up comedy act to look out for

Most notable stand up comedians are men. Don't ask me why but it seems that there is this thing about stand up comedians and celebrity chefs. For some reason, there is a lack of funny women on stage so when one comes along, people take note. Let's be honest, where else would you find a female stand up comedian who fled to London from Iran as a kid and whose father was the target of (at least one) assassination attempt?

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Shappi Khorsandi - the Distracted Activist indeed

From the cosy confines of the Soho Theatre's Auditorium, Shappi Khorsandi thrilled the audience with her light-hearted banter, and anecdotes on her struggle with her Iranian identity and her English upbringing, the joys and angst of having a child, and dangers of racism and nationalism.

Shappi joked about how Nick Griffin was portrayed as a victim on that infamous episode of Question Time so much so that she, like all Britons, was actually rooting for the underdog. Unlike most of the stand up comedians, she started the show by chatting the crowds, a huge gamble indeed. Fortunately for her (and the audience), she managed to sidestep most minefields though there was this couple (apparently not quite an item yet) was asked whether they were at the 'I love you' stage. The awkward silence thereafter was deafening. But Shappi did manage to bounce off in an instant with a cheeky "Help me out there, will you?" to the audience.

Right from the start, Shappi did warn us that her "memory was failing after childbirth" and she had a small notebook propped up on a stool that she referred to every now and then. There were instances that she broke off halfway lost in her train of thoughts. But she exuded that vulnerability that made the audience looked past all that and lapped it all up. All that while waving her Beginner's Guide to Acting English.

There were some mumbling that the show (less than an hour) could be a bit longer but for £15, I would rather go for a bout of Shappi Khorsandi in the cosy Soho Theatre than for being crammed up at the Apollo for Russell Howard.

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4 comments:

Waves Resort Broadbeach said...

What I've seen on TV of her routine is mostly about her ethnicity, but it's pretty good and she does get some good stuff in about her general lifestyle. She could do with ad-libbing stuff about current affairs a tad more.

::karinuslai:: said...

i recommend dara o'briain and michael mcintyre. not a fan of russell howard's, to be honest. he hasn't impressed me on mock the week any...

Poppet said...

I like Shappi, and I've kept an eye on her ever since accidentally bumping into one of her relatives close to the arctic circle (!).
Judged by seeing her on various tv shows in the UK, she is excellent, but she seems to tell the same jokes on every show. That's not too good if you're on the comedy roadshow, jonathan ross etc at the same time!

C K said...

@Broadbeach & Poppet,
I agree that she's mostly doing her niche stuff and banking on her ethnicity. Then again, that's her edge over the others isn't it?

But she's pretty mild compared to Frank Skinner and Russell Howard. So if you're for some stronger stuff, you've got to go somewhere.

@karinsulai,
I like Michael as well. Realised my folly after not getting his O2 gig at 30 quid. Now that they have all been sold out, I could just go kick myself. lol.