The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi’s upbringing has been in no way conventional. From mental illness to opium dens, it’s all gone on in the Khorsandi household and now she recounts it all the only way she knows how, with wit, warmth and hilarity. Shappi Khorsandi took her one women show Carry on Shappi to the 2008 Edinburgh Festival and then on to The Soho Theatre.
Best Breakthrough Beginning
In 2007, Shappi Khorsandi won Best Breakthrough Act at the Chortle Awards. That same year, she took her show Carry on Shappi to the Fringe when she was eight months pregnant, enticing at least one critic to plead ‘go and see her before her waters break!’ She was back in early 2008, taking Carry on Shappi to the Soho Theatre in London. Shappi’s 2006 show, Asylum Speaker was an Edinburgh sell out, followed by an extended run at The Soho Theatre.
Chatty Shappi Khorsandi
Shappi Khorsandi is a sought after cultural commentator. Appearing on ITV’s Sunday Edition, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service & LBC and also in The Guardian, The Independent, Metro and on BBC News website. She was also a panellist on BBC’s Question Time. Shappi has presented a series for Open University. She is a regular roving reporter for BBC South’s Inside Out. Shappi has gigged internationally in the United States, the Middle East, Singapore, Australia and Amsterdam.
Keep It In The Khorsandi Family
Comedy is a family business for the Khorsandi’s. In Los Angeles, Shappi performed in a seven week sell out run with her brother in a show called How to be Iranian as well as starring in her own one hour show. Other work in America included a month long tour supporting her father in his extremely popular stand up show.
TV & Radio
Shappi Khorsandi has appeared on Have I Got News For You, on BBC1’s Lenny’s Britain and BBC4’s Never Mind the Full Stops. She’s a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 programmes such as Quote… Unquote, The Now Show, Just a Minute, and also contributed to From Tehran With Laughter. Shappi has also taken part in BBC4’s The Big Read.
As a keynote speaker and awards host, Shappi can deftly handle the most serious subjects with a sprinkling of humour – a skill perfected in her early stand-up shows. Drawing on her past experiences as a female comic breaking into a male-dominated industry, Shappi is a popular speaker on topics surrounding diversity and inclusion and mental health. Her charmingly candid style combined with her sharp-as-a-tack delivery ensure that whether speaking virtually or in-person, she never fails to connect with an audience. Shappi’s speaking topics include (but are not limited to):
It’s The Way You Tell It: What Does Our Humour Say About Us?
Shappi explains how, despite what some may think, comedy is not just about telling jokes. It is about taking a risk and displaying a confidence which can help you in every area of your life, and build trust with those around you. Humour is a powerful way to show other people the world as you see it and build rapport with those who, on paper, you may not seem to have anything in common. Of course, it can also massively misfire and do the opposite, so Shappi will outline the pitfalls and how to avoid them
Defining Diversity and Embracing Cultural Difference
The drive for diversity can sometimes make people in workplaces panic and scramble around to grab the nearest brown person and plonk them in a group photo. Very often, Shappi has been that brown person. But diversity is not about tokenistic representation, and the conversation surrounding it needs to be had much earlier and at every level of an organisation. Rather than just paying lip service to diversity, we need to discuss what it really means, why it is so important and how we can truly embrace the concept to produce beneficial and equitable outcomes for all.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
In a deeply personal and illuminating talk, Shappi takes the audience on a captivating journey from the 90s to the present day, revealing her own struggles with bulimia and anxiety disorders, and the tools and techniques she developed to cope with and overcome these issues. With candour, warmth and humour, she will explain how we could all improve our lives dramatically if we paid a little bit more attention to maintaining our mental wellbeing.
A Woman in a Man’s World: Uncovering Everyday Sexism
As one of just a handful of women in the 90s trying to break into a stand-up comedy industry dominated by bombastic men, Shappi knows all too well what it feels like to be a woman in a man’s world. For every woman, in any sector, it can be a personal terrain to navigate. Sexism can be the hardest ‘ism’ to call out and challenge, because it can come from your closest quarters, and exist within your own family and friendship circle. In this honest and very personal talk, Shappi will examine the ways in which women and men can work together to remove the barriers constructed by past prejudice, and shine a hopeful light on changing the status quo.
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