Shappi Khorsandi

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Shappi Khorsandi
Shappi Khorsandi.jpg
Khorsandi performing at Latitude in 2009.
Birth name Shaparak Khorsandi
Born (1973-06-08) 8 June 1973 (age 41)
Tehran, Iran
Medium Stand-up, television
Genres Black comedy, observational comedy, deadpan
Subject(s) Modern life, Iranian-UK cultural divide, and the generation gap
Influences Jo Brand
Spouse Christian Reilly (2005–2010, divorced)
Children 2
Parent(s) Hadi Khorsandi (father)
Website Official website

Shaparak "Shappi" Khorsandi (Persian: شاپرک خرسندی, born 8 June 1973[1]) is an Iranian-born British[2] comedian.

Background and personal life[edit]

The daughter of Hadi Khorsandi, she and her family were forced to flee from Iran to London after the Islamic Revolution following the publication of a satirical poem her father composed. The poem was perceived as critical of the revolutionary regime. She was raised without any religion.[3]

Khorsandi graduated from King Alfred's College, now the University of Winchester, in 1995, with a degree in Drama, Theatre and Television, then moving on to pursue a career in comedy. In 2010, the university awarded her an honorary doctorate.[4]

Khorsandi was married to fellow comedian Christian Reilly, with whom she has a son.[5] They divorced in 2010. Khorsandi lives with her son in west London near Richmond Park. Her father and brother are also stand-up comedians.[6] In November 2012, she announced on Twitter that she was expecting her second child, due in the summer of 2013.[citation needed] On 7 June 2013, Khorsandi gave birth to a baby girl.[citation needed]


Khorsandi performs stand-up comedy, having been a noted performer at Joe Wilson's Comedy Madhouse throughout 1997. She has appeared on many BBC Radio 4 programmes, including Quote... Unquote, Loose Ends, You and Yours, Midweek, Just A Minute, The Now Show and The News Quiz, as well as BBC Television's Have I Got News For You and QI. In July 2009, she hosted her own four-part series, Shappi Talk on BBC Radio 4, examining what it is like growing up in multi-cultural families.[7] She also writes an occasional column for online magazine

In 2007, Khorsandi made her first trip to Australia and the Melbourne Comedy Festival with her show Asylum Speaker. She also appeared live on the Australia comedy talk show Rove. Later, she was nominated for best breakthrough act at the 2007 Chortle Awards. In December 2008, she appeared on the BBC stand-up television show Live at the Apollo alongside Russell Kane and Al Murray.[8] She also made an appearance on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow on 20 June 2009, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 26 June 2009 and 8 Out of 10 Cats on 10 July 2009.

Khorsandi's memoir, A Beginner's Guide to Acting English, was published by Ebury Press on 2 July 2009.[9] She performed her show, The Distracted Activist, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 6 to 31 August 2009.[10]

Khorsandi was a panellist on Question Time in 2006, and returned on 14 January 2010. During that show, she mentioned that she supports Labour. She performed on the second episode of Let's Dance for Sport Relief 2010.[11][12]

In 2010, Khorsandi took part in Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show held in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London on 30 March. She appeared as a guest in Genius hosted by Dave Gorman on 31 October 2010.[13] In March 2012, Khorsandi appeared on Channel 4's The Celebrity Bank Job and won £59,000 for her chosen charities.

Khorsandi is a member of the Arts Emergency Service, a British charity working with 16- to 19-year-olds in further education from diverse backgrounds.[14]

On 19 and 20 November 2014, Khorsandi was a guest panellist on Loose Women, filling in for Jamelia.

She appeared on The Blame Game on BBC Northern Ireland hosted by Tim McGarry on 5 December 2014.[15]

A Beginner's Guide to Acting English[edit]

The book describes the way in which young Khorsandi experiences England as a young girl. Her story commences with her attending nursery school, The Kings' International Nursery School, with her brother, Peyvand. Throughout the book, she explains the ways in which the Iranian language differs from English: "They called me ‘poppet’. Iranians said 'jaan' or 'azizam'." She also takes pride in how her father took English classes and was praised for his affinity with the written word. She also felt he was able to be more humorous in Persian. Other themes include her experiences with English food and customs, the war between Iran and Iraq as well as the hostilities that she and her family encounter. For example, she often becomes labelled as a terrorist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Twitter / Shappi Khorsandi: It's my birthday on Tuesday". 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Shappi Khorsandi (January–February 2007). "Diary: Comic timing". New Humanist:Articles, Volume 122 Issue 1. The Rationalist Association. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  4. ^ The University of Winchester (5 October 2010). "Comedian Shappi Khorsandi to be honoured by the University of Winchester". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Budak, Bertan (21 May 2010). "My perfect weekend: Shappi Khorsandi". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  6. ^ [Video interview of Khorsandi on Carpool]
  7. ^ - 22:45 (2010-10-19). "Radio 4 Programmes - Shappi Talk: Series 1". BBC. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  8. ^ "BBC listing". Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  9. ^ "''A Beginner's Guide to Acting English''". Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  10. ^ "Shappi Khorsandi: The Distracted Activist | Edinburgh Festival Guide". 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  11. ^ "Who will be competing on Show two?". BBC. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Show Two Report". BBC. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Genius With Dave Gorman - Episode 2.6. Noddy Holder and Shappi Khorsandi - British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  14. ^ "Media Diversity UK". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  15. ^ "BBC Iplayer". BBC Iplayer. BBC. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 

External links[edit]