Shappi Khorsandi, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London
Friday 17 September 2010
"The great thing about playing this festival is that there's music to fill any awkward silences," says Shappi Khorsandi of the jazz pleasantly leaking from an adjacent tented venue. Khorsandi, however, is not one for leaving silences; she's ever effervescent and with all the more reason to be these days, thanks to a growing audience, in part swelled by TV appearances that range from Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to Question Time.
Her media ubiquity is in the spotlight for the first half of her show, where, among other things, she tells us how Kelvin MacKenzie held her hand on Question Time because she was so nervous and how Kirstie Allsopp didn't make a great impression on her when they met on Andrew Neil's election-night river-cruise programme. "If you waxed your eyebrows you could get away with being blonde," the TV presenter allegedly said to the comedian, to which Khorsandi belatedly retaliates (for our benefit): "If you didn't open your mouth you could get away with being sane."
She worries that her appearance on a recent BBC3 show will have killed some of her jokes for the audience – and tramples over one routine because of that. Not only does the 37-year-old comic not factor in silences, but clearly she likes to get her retaliation in first. At one point she asks how long she has done and excuses herself by saying that she thought, before the show, she would only be doing a 20-minute set tonight.
Often just too cute and coy and sometimes corny (on retaking her English Language GCSE and supposedly getting a lower grade, she says: "My English was so bad I thought the E was better"), Khorsandi can still find a good line. When the producers of a sitcom decide against using her Iraqi nanny character because of the Gulf War, her cuteness pays off in this context when she summarises: "I know there are probably better reasons for being against the war... "
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