Shaparak Khorsandi, better known as ‘Shappi’ is an Iranian-born British comedian and author. Many of you would recognise her from BBC’s Live at The Apollo as she often frequently appears there. She has been in comedy since 1997 and is always fresh with her comedy routines. From adapting to British life when her family fled Iran during the Islamic Revolution to raising two children, Khorsandi has an uplifting take on life. As a local graduate from King Alfred’s College (now Winchester University) in 1995, Khorsandi is very close to my heart.
Recently, I had binged Greg Jenner’s You’re Dead to Me history podcast on Spotify because I wanted to learn more about the things I never was taught during my school years. In one episode, Khorsandi was the comedian joining in and together, it felt like I was there with her, the expert and Jenner as we were learning about the Ancient Olympics. Khorsandi admits to not being the biggest history fan as a child and being one of those students who would constantly be naughty in class. However, she was eager to know more. I knew quite a lot about the Ancient Olympics, but it was an experience to learn more and hear Khorsandi’s wittiness on men battling naked. Of course, it was cheeky and saucy but what else would you expect from her?
Furthermore, Khorsandi joined Jenner once again for his podcast on the Byzantine empire. As someone from a Iranian-Persian background, this topic was very close to her. What really struck me was the way in which she retold the stories she was used to from being told them as a child and how these stories of her culture’s history was very heart-felt and encouraged me to do further research. She may hate history, but she was doing an amazing job at teaching me about Iranian history and culture. Likewise, hearing about her experience with coming to Britain with her culture and how the duality of her nationality offers different perspectives. It challenges my own privileges as a white woman and encourage me to be a better feminist and encourage me to always be curious.