Early life and education
Djalili was born in Chelsea, London, to Iranian Baháʼí parents. He attended Holland Park School and then Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, studying English and theatre studies.
The first significant success of his stand-up comedy career was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1995 with "Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son", followed by "The Arab and the Jew" with Jewish comedian Ivor Dembina in 1996.
He did his part for Comic Relief after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and also in 2005 he appeared on the British TV show Top Gear as a celebrity driver. The same year he broke Edinburgh Festival box office records with over 16,500 ticket sales.
In 2006, Sky Television picked him to be the face of their Saturday night film premières, and he also announced a new tour of the UK called 'No Agenda', from January 2007 until March 2007, covering 23 different dates. The No Agenda tour DVD was released in late 2007.
On 18 March 2007, he was voted by the British public as the 60th best stand-up comedian in a Channel 4 programme "The 100 Greatest Stand-Ups",. On 26 October 2007, he guest-presented the BBC political quiz show Have I Got News for You. The Omid Djalili Show started on BBC1 on 17 November 2007. The series was a mix of sketches and stand-up material. A second series was recorded in late 2008 and began broadcast on BBC 1 on 20 April 2009. He performed on We Are Most Amused on ITV1 to mark Prince Charles's 60th birthday in 2008 and on We Are Most Amused and Amazed to mark his 70th birthday in 2018.
Djalili has appeared in a number of films, most notably Gladiator, The Mummy, Mean Machine, The World Is Not Enough, Alien Autopsy, Spy Game, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Grow Your Own, Notting Hill, Mr Nice, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Sex and the City 2 and provides his voice in Over the Hedge.
He has observed that he usually appears as a generic Middle Eastern background character in many of these films, often commenting that he appears in the James Bond film as the "Second Azerbaijani oil pipe attendant". He appeared as Nasim in 22 episodes of the U.S. sitcom Whoopi, starring Whoopi Goldberg, and picked up an international film award for Best Supporting Actor in Casanova, starring alongside Heath Ledger and Jeremy Irons.
On 12 February 2009, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that Djalili would appear as the second Fagin in the new West End production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Omid took over from Rowan Atkinson, who had been contracted until 18 July 2009.
In 2009, Djalili became the voice of Yusuf Amir in the popular gaming series Grand Theft Auto. He took up the role in the Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony spin-off game. In 2010, he starred in the David Baddiel-scripted film The Infidel.
Djalili provided his voice in the 2015 stop motion animated comedy Shaun the Sheep Movie.
In 2020 he began hosting the ITV game show Winning Combination.
In 2008, he was an official festival judge for the Noor Iranian Film Festival. In June 2010, Djalili appeared in a Meltdown Festival concert given by the Philharmonia Orchestra at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, performing the part of the narrator in 'Rubaiyat', a tone poem by American classical composer Alan Hovhaness which sets the words of Omar Khayyám to music.
In 2019, Djalili was criticised for making disparaging remarks about the Welsh language on Twitter after he posted a photograph of a road sign written in Welsh and wrote underneath, "There are worse things than being Welsh, dyslexic & having a terrible stutter. But not many." In response to the unfavourable reaction, Djalili added, "Going to suggest to Sioned a show with the superb replies," referring to Sioned Wiliam, the Head of Comedy at BBC Radio, who is Welsh. However, Djalili declined to apologise. Nigel Owens said that the joke "just wasn't funny", calling it a "cheap, offensive jibe at a nation's language which has needlessly insulted people who have experience with dyslexia or speech impediments".
Djalili has won awards for his comedy. These include the EMMA Award, Time Out Award, and LWT Comedy Award for Best Stand-up Comedian, Spirit of the Fringe Award as well as the One World Media Award for his Channel 4 documentary, Bloody Foreigners.
He has also been nominated for awards, such as the Perrier Award for Best Comedian, the Gemini Award for Best Comedy Performance of 2003, the South Bank Award for Best Comedy of 2003, the Royal Television Society Award for Best Stand-up, and the European TV Award for his Bloody Foreigners.
|1999||The Mummy||Warden Gad Hassan|
|Notting Hill||Cashier at Coffee Shop|
|The World Is Not Enough||Foreman|
|2001||Spy Game||Beirut: Doumet|
|2002||Anita and Me||Uncle Amman|
|2003||Cross My Heart||Riz|
|The Calcium Kid||Herbie Bush|
|Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow||Kaji|
|Over the Hedge||Tiger||Voice role|
|2007||Grow Your Own||Ali|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End||Askay / Pusasn|
|2008||The Love Guru||Guru Satchabigknoba|
|2009||Dead Man Running||"Bald Fat Fuck"|
|2010||The Infidel||Mahmud Nasir|
|Sex and the City 2||Mr Safir|
|Animals United||Bongo||Voice role|
|Mr. Nice||Saleem Malik|
|2011||Big Fat Gypsy Gangster||Jik Jickkles|
|2015||Shaun the Sheep Movie||Trumper||Voice role|
|Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism||Barry Rix|
|2016||The Comedian's Guide to Survival||Himself|
|2018||Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again||Greek customs officer|
|2018||The Samurai of Tsushima||Innkeeper||Voice role|
|2018||The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||Cavalier|
|TBA||Text for You||Post-production|
|1996||The Friday Night Armistice||Himself|
|1998||Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round||Various|
|Barking||Various Role||2 episodes|
|1999||The Ruth Rendell Mysteries||Mr Kaiafas||Episode: "The Lake of Darkness"|
|The Bill||Yilmaz Demirtas|
|Coming Soon||Amir Hassan||TV Movie|
|1999–2001||Small Potatoes||Hoss||13 episodes|
|Jason and the Argonauts||Castor||2 episodes|
|2001||So What Now?||Ken|
|2002–03||Dinotopia: the Series||Zipeau (voice)||10 episodes|
|Lenny Henry in Pieces|
|2003||Between Iraq and a Hard Place||Iraqi Television Host||TV Movie|
|2003–04||Whoopi||Nasim Khatenjami||22 episodes|
|2004||Live at the Apollo||Himself|
|2005||Chopra Town||Ali Ergun||TV Movie|
|One Night Stand||Himself||HBO|
|My Family and Other Animals||Spiro||TV Movie|
|2006||Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive||Himself|
|Jack Dee's Lead Balloon||Mr Tilak|
|Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law||Perfectionist (voice)|
|2007||TV Heaven, Telly Hell||Guest|
|Have I Got News For You||himself|
|Premier League All Stars||Chelsea Celebrity player|
|Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy||Himself|
|2007–09||The Omid Djalili Show||Himself, presenter, various roles||12 episodes|
|2008||Never Mind The Buzzcocks||Guest panellist|
|Headcases||Mohamed Al Fayed|
|2009||Would I Lie To You?||Guest panellist||one episode|
|2011||The Paul Reiser Show||Habib||7 episodes|
|2012||Omid Djalili's Little Cracker||Tobacconist|
|2014||The Great Sport Relief Bake Off||Guest presenter||one episode|
|Question Time||Guest panellist|
|2015–16||Dickensian||Mr Venus||11 episodes|
|2016||Insert Name Here||Guest panellist|
|The One Show||Guest presenter||1 episode|
|2016–18||Stan Lee's Lucky Man||Kamil||9 episodes|
|2017||Thunderbirds Are Go||Horse Williams||voice; 1 episode|
|2018||All Together Now Celebrities||Contestant||2nd Place|
|2019||Queens of Mystery|
|2019||His Dark Materials||Dr Lanselius||Episode: "Armour"|
|2020||The Letter for the King||Sir Fantumar|
|2020||The Chase: Celebrity Special||Contestant||Series 10, Episode 5, 2020-10-10|
|2020||Sunday Brunch||Guest||Series 9, Episode 41; 22 November 2020|
|2020||Celebrity Mastermind||Contestant||Series 18, Episode 1, 19 December 2020|
|2020||Secrets of the Apollo||Guest contributor||28 December 2020|
|2021||Michael McIntyre's The Wheel||Celebrity expert||Series 1, Episode 6; 2 January 2021|
|James Martin’s Saturday Morning||Guest||Series 4, Episode 3; 16 January 2021|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony||Yusuf Amir|||
|50 Cent: Blood on the Sand||Eddie|||
- No Agenda: Live at the London Palladium (26 November 2007)
- Live in London (16 November 2009)
- Tour of Duty (19 November 2012)
- "Omid Djalili: Everybody's fool". The Independent. 12 February 2006. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- Kadivar, Darius (3 December 2007). "In The Arena With Omid Djalili". Payvand's Iran News. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- Djalili, Omid (20 August 2007). "TV Heaven, Telly Hell" (Interview). Interviewed by Sean Lock.
- "Comedian Ivor Dembina". Chortle Comedy Website. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- "Scottish Theatre Archive - Event Details". University of Glasgow Scottish Theatre Archive. 23 August 1990. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (24 October 2011). "NBC Developing Comedy Series Version Of British Film 'The Infidel' Starring Omid Djalili". Deadline. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "extract on Youtube - Comic Aid 2005 Compilation".
- "Top Gear: Series 6, Episode 4 – TopGearbox". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Omid Djalili: Live 2008 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Omid Djalili - Hire & Book For Parties & Events - Classique". www.classiquepromotions.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Welcome to the Omid Djalili Website..." www.omidnoagenda.com. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Omid Djalili, James Dowdeswell, Jenny Collier and Geoff Whiting | Chiswicks Festival". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Gulftimes : Award-winning comedian Omid to perform in Doha on April 8". m.gulf-times.com. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Have I Got News for You". BBC Programmes. BBC. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- "Royal family pictures of the week". The Telegraph. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- Crossley, Becki (20 September 2018). "Omid Djalili brings 'Schmuck For A Night' to Wilton's Music Hall, London". The List. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "Djalili cuts out Iran jokes. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- Iqbal, Nosheen (11 February 2009). "Omid Djalili pockets Fagin role in Oliver!". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- Omid Djalili Money Supermarket adverts on YouTube (Youtube.com). Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "NBC Unveils 2010-11 Primetime Schedule Accented by Five New Comedies, Seven New Dramas and New Alternative Program". The Futon Critic. 16 May 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "Schools – Teachers – Off By Heart Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet "Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!"". BBC. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Sky adventure to shoot in Ireland". 10 June 2013 – via www.rte.ie. Cite journal requires
- "Fiddler on the Roof". Chichester Festival Theatre. 2 December 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- "Philharmonia Orchestra: Hovhaness". Southbank Centre. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Omid Djalili causes anger with Welsh language joke". BBC News. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- Owens, Nigel (6 July 2019). "Omid Djalili's joke about the Welsh language just wasn't funny". WalesOnline. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- Fenners meets Omid Djalili, ESPN (UK), 19 April 2010
- "Omid Djalili at the Edinburgh International Book Festival". Youtube.com. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- https://www.thunderbirds.com/en/news/article/19[bare URL]
- "Sunday Brunch". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- "Celebrity Mastermind". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "Secrets of the Apollo". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- "Michael McIntyre's The Wheel". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
- "James Martin's Saturday Morning". itv.com. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- "Xbox World 360 Preview". GTANet. 7 September 2009. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Bridgett, Rob. "50 Cent: Blood on the Sand: Audio Postmortem". Gamasutra. UBM Tech. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
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