Shappi Khorsandi = captivating comedy

When Top Secret Comedy Club unveiled Shappi Khorsandi as the headline act, I spontaneously ran to Covent Garden on Sunday. Here’s my spontaneous review of the entire night…

Shappi Khorsandi at Top Secret Comedy
Shappi Khorsandi at Top Secret Comedy


The star I’ve admired ever since my friend and I scoured all available YouTube videos of her. And she’s back! She’s as lovely as ever… with stumbles and stutters and cute moments where she is unsure of herself.

She draws attention to her baby brain – she’s a new mum, 6 weeks – and how it’s like being stoned; appropriate for the Latitude Festival the day before. This sets the tone for her signature rolling of her eyes at herself as she jumbles words and noises mid-sentence. She’s absolutely right in her observations, particularly about the lack of talking on the Tube.

Her natural presence and intimate tales of her mid-life crisis the year before are hugely entertaining. She is  captivating to watch on stage, particularly the part where she ran off in her own world on a rant about a 5 year old who picked on her son and the kind of man he’ll grow up to be. The onslaught was stopped in a pause, she breathes, and the beautiful insight into her bitterness and mind is overcome with:

“Shappi, what are you doing? You’re on stage calling a 5 year old a dickhead.”

“And… I’m back in the room.”

This bitterness towards men is perhaps understandable, as her anecdotes about the opposite sex continue and the audience warms to her mid-life crisis. I mean, who would mistreat SHAPPI KHORSANDI? Her vulnerability and sweetness, particularly when she said she’d go out with anyone and she went out with a girl last year, endeared her to me. How can anyone not love her?

She often said she lost confidence mid-rant and mid-sentence, and her self-awareness and corrections to her internal monologue were beautiful to watch. It was too hot to think anyway. She did ask us if something was ironic when we had already got the irony, but otherwise, she was completely on form with great perceptive observations. If she did lose confidence, she will get it back – she’s on form and if this is her comeback, I can’t wait for her next tour with plentiful material from the last year.

See her work in progress 12-17 August at Soho Theatre!

And here’s who else was on:

Host Josephine Lacey was loud and proud, harsh and strong, scathing and Jamaican-Irish, and had the audience whipped. I believe she struck fear into the guy at the front who called her ugly with fierce Jamaican wrath. She’s sexy and sassy with sweet, softer tones. She’s a formidable woman.

Niko Yearwood
Niko Yearwood

Nico Yearwood ran through a classic three-act set with well-developed, well-written concepts that were seamlessly connected. His rant about phones was brilliant and plenty told him so after the show, complete with his great Dr Dre song re-make. He flew from dating to sex to Facebook to art and his stories were all relatable and all funny. I remember his face and he’s impressively improved within a few months.

Lynn Ruth Miller, self-aware and crude ‘granny’, gave us a preview of her Edinburgh Show Grannies Gone Wild. Her initial, very funny one-liners gave way to cruder and cruder, and unrelenting, jokes about mistaken definitions of rude words. She’s very American, very adorable, and plays on our expectations of sweet elderly ladies – but she could tone it down a little. Says a 25-year-old to a 78-year-old. Blimey.

Jason Patterson … Which isn’t a very ‘black’ name.

Clever word play and suspense in story-telling with two amazing stories in particular that were amazing – starring an original, beautiful and articulate commentary on immigration through the character of his eccentric and lovely Nan. His Michael Jackson vs. Prince rivalry skit might be out of date but it was a great ending to excellent stories.