In celebration of International Women's Day 2022, we're celebrating all of the best and most talented women in the events industry. Be it musicians, comedians, or industry workers who play an integral part in keeping the world of events running smoothly, we thought we'd take the opportunity to speak to women from all corners of the industry. We wanted to find out about their experiences and, most of all, sing their praises!
In the latest of our International Women's Day series, we spoke to comedian and author Shaparak Khorsandi. Currently in the midst of her UK tour, Shaparak is as at home on the live stage as she is on your televisions. She's appeared on the likes of '8 Out Of 10 Cats', Channel 4's 'Comedy Gala', and even spent some time in the jungle as part of 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'. A regular at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2000, Shaparak has been making us laugh for over 20 years.
Check out what we had to chat about in our International Women's Day interview...
Tell us about your route into comedy.
I was obsessed with Rik Mayal and Alexei Sayle as a kid. In the 90s there were loads of comedy clubs everywhere. You could see Jo Brand and Al Murray in tiny clubs and it was the most exciting thing I could imagine. I never wanted to be away from comedy clubs. I started pestering promoters for five minute ‘open spots’ and went from there.
What part of being a comedian do you enjoy the most, and why?
On tour, I love the actual show, the time I'm on stage and nothing else matters but the audience. No one can ask me for a biscuit. In the old days I loved the after-show boozing, but it gets to a point you have to either knock that on the head or have your kids taken into care.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My gig at Barnard Castle in County Durham the other day was pretty special. I had the best pre-show fish and chips there too.
During your career, do you personally feel you’ve had to fight any battles because of your gender? How did you overcome it?
With 90s audiences you got a great deal of ‘WHAT??? There’s a woman ON THE STAGE’ but you just plough on!
What have you considered to be your most valuable life lesson in the comedy industry?
Confidence is everything and it can be faked.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to others hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Do up your laces and don’t be arrogant.
What do you feel that women bring to comedy that men can’t, or haven’t?
I’ve never been able to ask a male comedian ‘you got any tampons? I’ve just come on’.
And finally, what would you say to someone who believed the stereotype that women just aren't funny, or as funny as men?
I wouldn't say anything. I’d pat them on the head, tickle them under the chin and walk away.
Catch Shaparak Khorsandi on tour across the UK! Tickets available now.
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