Shappi Khorsandi has been appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival since 2007, so the trip down under is a familiar one to her now. This time around the single mum has brought her two young children (from different fathers as she explains in her act), along with her for the ride. Perhaps it’s the stresses of travelling with kids, a ‘jet lag cough’ and the echoing cavern that is the Mini Main stage at the Town Hall that amounted to a rather cool and uncomfortable review performance for this reputedly “thrilling” UK comedy star.
Khorsandi is undoubtedly a talented performer though, ploughing through this difficult set of circumstances with determination and some very funny tales of her rocky road through romance, the comedy circuit and her middleclass childhood in England.
Certainly, this situation isn’t as difficult as the circumstances her father has had to endure, as an Iranian poet who had to flee the country with his family in 1979 following his criticism of Iran’s new political regime.
However, this history provides the content for some wonderful anecdotes for the comedian around her peculiar mix of cultural backgrounds. The opinions of her peers in regards to immigrants and her own fear of speaking out in her youth being in stark contrast to her father’s approach.
The terribly polite nature Khorsandi has inherited from her British upbringing causes almost apologetic follow-ups when the comedian’s jokes enter a blue territory. However, the shock value that this darker style provides is most welcome; in fact, it’s when she allows these naughty thoughts to escape that she gets the best response from her audience.
While she may not have been in full stride for this particular set, Khorsandi deserves to have good audiences for the festival, as her candid nature is genuinely disarming and will guarantee to provide charming performances in the coming weeks.