Comedian & author Shappi Khorsandi is a woman of many parts. But live comedy is where she’s in her element, and now she sets out on tour to 39 more welcoming destinations around the UK this spring with her newest show Skittish Warrior…Confessions of a Club Comic which brings sharp-tongued gags, cultural observation and whatever else is in her easily distracted mind at the time.
James Rampton caught up with the comedy star to find out more…
Stand-up comedy has undergone a huge transformation over the last 20 years. Shappi Khorsandi, one of our best loved comedians, reflects that, “It’s really changed. It’s got cleaner and more sober and a lot more career-minded. You meet 20-year-olds on the comedy circuit now who have a five-year plan.”
“I’m sure stand-up is something career advisers at top private schools are telling their students to do. ‘You don’t want to go into the money markets or the law. You want to go into stand-up’.”
Things have certainly changed a great deal since Shappi began her career as a stand-up two decades ago. “I feel very thankful that when I started out in comedy, it was punk,” she says. “The ultimate aim was to play the clubs, not telly. That’s why my new show is a love letter to the comedy clubs.”
In her eagerly anticipated new show, “Skittish Warrior … Confessions of a Club Comic,” Shappi looks back fondly on the late 1990s when she first made her name on the comedy circuit.
A really gifted cultural commentator and dazzlingly sharp-tongued observer, Shappi is a brilliant live performer. During the past 20 years as a stand-up, she has attracted numerous critical plaudits.
The Evening Standard, for instance, declares that she, “Makes live comedy thrilling.” The Guardian enthuses that, “She has plenty to say, and says it with pointedness and potency”. Meanwhile, The List remarks that she, “Has the crowd in the palm of her hand”.
“The show is a good opportunity to look back on how it all began. It talks about the bits that stand-ups don’t usually talk about, those behind the scene moments where doors get slammed in your face. It’s about rediscovering that early passion. It’s a celebration of the comedy circuit,” she explains.
But above all, Shappi is relishing her return to stand-up. She thrives on the buzz of live performance. “That’s the most exciting part. It’s the joy of the job. I get an absolute adrenaline rush on stage. For me, it’s always been about the live stuff.”
Finally, what does Shappi hope that audiences will feel as they leave the theatre at the end of “Skittish Warrior … Confessions of a Club Comic”? “I hope people will take away a great sense of warmth and a lot of heart. The show is saying it’s OK to be exactly who you are.
The only person you should ever compete with is yourself.”
Shappi Khorsandi’s national tour of “Skittish Warrior … Confessions of a Club Comic” tours the UK until June 2019. Shappi comes to Colchester for one night as part of her wider UK tour performing at Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday 19th May. For tickets and more information www.shappi.co.uk