Don’t worry, be Shappi

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You may know her from the telly but Shappi Khorsandi is most at home on stage, microphone in hand, writes Laura Burgoine…

Bringing her stand-up show Dirty Looks and Hopscotch to Canada Water, Shappi is coming to the end of a long tour that began last August. “This show is based around growing up, having affairs with rock stars, and looking at why we fall for certain types of people,” she explains. “It’s all autobiographical, as most of my work is. It’s not storytelling as such, just more a general examination of all our experiences.”

Having toured all over the UK, the comedienne says audiences don’t really change geographically but more depending on the night of the week. “Luckily my mid-week shows are doing well so I’m not performing to an empty room,” she jokes. Does she still get heckled? “Fortunately when you tour with a show it’s not like being in a comedy club with drunk punters. People are no more likely to heckle you than they would yell out during a play.”

Performing the same show for months on end may sound tiring, but Shappi insists it’s a working progress. “It’s like cooking, you continue to work on it and you find all kinds of different ways to make the same thing and to constantly improve it,” she tells. “I don’t get sick of it at all because it changes all the time. Unlike a play, if you get bored of a stand-up show you can just change it.”
Having made several television appearances including BBC One’s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Have I Got News For You Shappi admits her favourite TV guest spot was on the Graham Norton Show. “He’s an absolute joy, he’s one of my favourite people in the business. He’s from the circuit and he just gets it.”

However, stand-up is her job and her passion, she insists. “Stand-up is where I live, it’s what I do.”
The Mum of one, who lives in West London, is pregnant again and says juggling career with motherhood is all about prioritising. “Thankfully babies are portable,” she admits. “You can’t predict what it will be like until the baby arrives but last time I was back working after six weeks, though by working I mean I did a gig.” The comedienne says parenthood didn’t greatly affect her working life. “A child is fun, it was the divorce that really impacted my career far more,” she admits. “Becoming a parent you approach work differently because your priorities change. You’re never going to be on your death bed saying “God I wish I’d done more work,” so I spend the maximum amount of time with my child.”

Shappi’s show Dirty Looks and Hopscotch will be at Canada Water Culture Space, 21Surrey Quays Road, SE16 7AR on Saturday April 20. Admission: £15 / £12 concession. Phone: 020 8692 4446. http://www.canadawaterculturespace.org.uk

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