With a career spanning over 20 years, including seemingly limitless areas of highly successful work, Omid Djalili is easily one of Britain’s premier comedians, performers and all-round entertainers. And 22 years into this career of his, the Iranian born comedian is as relevant, popular and in-form as he has ever been.
Djalili cut his teeth in the incubator of British comedy, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in the mid-90s before nabbing himself a number of bit part roles in television for the rest of the decade, credits included The Bill and Barking. After several more similar roles in the early 2000s, including Graham Linehan’s Black Books and the TV movie Jason and the Argonauts, Djalili starred in the sitcom Whoopi alongside veteran actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, the show ran for one season on NBC.
Within the next couple of years, the comedian found his career taking off; he appeared on the Comic Relief broadcast and Top Gear in 2005, before going on to break Edinburgh Festival box office records that year with ticket sales exceeding 16,000. Djalili soon found himself becoming something of a household name, his appearances on the likes of Live at the Apollo helped to expose a wider audience to his energetic, observant and eccentric style of comedy, enrapturing audiences with his accents and impressions, laced with intelligent comedy. From 2006 to 2007, he toured the UK extensively, releasing a DVD entitled No Agenda in the process, debuted on Have I Got News For You and even received his own TV show – The Omid Djalili Show – which mixed stand up with sketch comedy (his Credit Crunch: The Rock Opera is still as hilarious as it was upon its debut). During this time he was also included in Channel 4’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups” and soon after he performed on We Are Most Amused in honour of Prince Charles’ 60th birthday.
Sandwiching his comedy rise, Djalili has appeared in numerous films and stage productions. You may remember him from The Mummy, or possibly as a slave trader in Gladiator, or perhaps from his brief role in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. However there is a stronger chance that you’ll know his stage work, as in 2009 he took over as Fagin in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane production of Oliver!, replacing Rowan Atkinson in the role, he recently finished up his final date in the lead role of Tevye in the Chichester Theatre’s Fiddler on the Roof. In recent years, his acting credits include Dickensian, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and the Shaun the Sheep Movie, and he will appear in next year’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
As he prepares to transfer his ‘Schmuck for a Nigh’ tour from the States to the UK from November through to early 2018, including six consecutive nights at the Leicester Square Theatre, the world travelled performer is continuing to prove how much of an enduring force he is modern comedy. With a bombastic, yet measured approach to his stand-up, Omid Djalili is a universally beloved entertainer who can effortlessly have an audience of any age or nationality in the palm of his hand.
Omid Djalili is heading out on UK tour from November 14th, tickets are available here.