Have you heard of her? If not – get to know her a little.
I recently decided to buy tickets to Shappi Khorsandi’s ‘Mistress and Misfit’ tour based on the fact that I had seen her a few times on ‘Live at the Apollo’ and for the short time that she was trapped in the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ jungle. I watched a few YouTube clips to make sure she was my kind of ‘funny’ and persuaded someone to go with me. Thinking no more about it, the day came and she emerged on stage to do her own warm up to a rousing version of ‘In the Navy.’
She was immediately funny. Funny in an intelligent way. Funny in a mature way. No cheap gags, but proper worked out stories and good delivery, making me think she would make a great novelist. Turns out she has just published her first fiction book, ‘Nina is Not OK.’ It is also the case that this is a serious story of a seventeen year old girl with drinking problems. Not the obvious output of a stand up comedian. When she spoke about this and joked about the irony, I started to realise there was more to this woman than meets the eye.
With a simple prop of a painting of a girl from centuries ago, the main section was a historical piece. Shappi played Emma Hamilton – former mistress of Lord Nelson in this tour and after the interval she returned as her, in her clothes but not in character. She seamlessly told the tale of how this ‘misunderstood’ girl worked her way from scullery maid to Lady Hamilton, joking that, ‘You get ONE job in a brothel and bang goes your reputation.’ Giving out historical facts and referring to documents and quotes from the time when Emma lived and loved, Shappi is a great storyteller who weaves the content into a string of jokes. She ended up making Emma seem like quite a heroine. Time flew by and Shappi was wrapping up a brilliant evening of entertainment before I knew it. It left me wanting to know more about her work and follow her on twitter.
She referred to her father, a poet who was kicked out of Iraq and caused them to uproot and resettle in England, where she went to school. She mentioned school and held quite a candle to it, coming back to her memories of being an ‘English as a second language’ student in the eighties, in a two part documentary about education that she made for Radio Four a few days ago. I loved the stories she told about her family and how she remembered her time in the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ jungle.
Since seeing Shappi, I have become somewhat a fan and enjoy her often quite political bites on twitter as well as her book, which I am still to finish but have loved so far. I just wanted to take a moment to share the fact that she is a comedian who has more strings to her bow than your average entertainer. She is clever and thoughtful, whilst being rude and cheeky. You will love her shows and her telly.