Shappi Khorsandi - Asylum Speaker

Shappi Khorsandi is the daughter of an Iranian asylum seeker who came to the UK in the 70’s. Educated here, she’s as English as an Enid Blyton heroine, whilst retaining her Iranian heritage and family traditions.

She offers us almost an hour of thought-provoking comedy as she talks about this background, managing somehow to pull some wonderful material from the history of Iran, the overthrow of the Shah by the Revolution, and the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini (honestly!).

During her childhood, her father was a satirical cartoonist against the Khomeini regime, and she recounts how she and her family were at times under threat of execution and were taken to a police safe house. She has some nice lines about how her family were the original asylum seekers before it became as fashionable as it is nowadays, and how Daily Mail readers complain about people coming over here and taking our food (“yeah, like the asylum seekers really, really covet British cuisine”).

As that nice Robbie Burns once said, “Wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as others see us“, and in some ways, Shappi is that power. She blends the personal and political to hold up a mirror to our society showing us ourselves from the perspective of the outsider.

All in all, you get much more for your money than just an hour of laughs – you’ll probably leave with just a slightly different perspective on the world, and isn’t that what good art of any genre should be aiming for?

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The Blurb

Shappi Khorsandi makes the gloomiest of topics hilarious. In 1984 Scotland Yard uncovered a plot to assassinate Shappi’s father. Terror had followed them from Iran to West London. Growing up is hard enough without the Aytollah following you around.

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