Shappi Khorsandi really does have a wealth of experience to draw from in her stand-up routine. Born in London to Iranian parents, she attended a posh primary school where she learnt to speak with a cut-glass accent, swiftly followed by a “shooty-stabby” inner-city comprehensive where the accent didn’t go down so well. For this gig, she has the more recent stories of her marriage and the expected arrival of her first child – in less than two months. She lets us in on all these aspects of her life with a rare honesty and intelligence, whilst allowing herself into the kind of areas that your common-or-garden white, male comedian tends to steer clear of.
Khorsandi’s best technique is to deliver apparently flippant one-liners that are pregnant with this collected wit and wisdom (no pun intended). She tells us that her son will have a double-barrelled surname, Khorsandi-Reilly, and that he can drop the Khorsandi part when he’s older. Then (down towards the bump and barely audible): “If he wants to break his mother’s heart”.
Combined with the breakneck pace of much of the gig, this catch-them-if-you-can attitude to punchlines keeps the audience on its toes, but there were times when I wanted Khorsandi to slow down and give her subtle and complex material more room to breathe. This may come as she settles in to her run. Let’s just hope, with her, that the waters stay unbroken for the next three weeks.