Shappi Khorsandi is a comedian, author speaker and advocate for human rights. Having written and performed her own stand-up shows and authored best-selling memoirs and novels, Shappi is also an incredible keynote speaker and awards host, who injects energy into any speech and laughter into any audience.
About Shappi Khorsandi
Shappi Khorsandi established herself as a stellar comedian when she wrote and performed her own sell-out Edinburgh stand-up show, Asylum Speaker, exploring her childhood experiences as a refugee fleeing Iran with terrorists attempting to murder her father. This show epitomised how expertly Shappi can handle sensitive, serious subject matter and yet still make her performances and speeches light-hearted and enjoyable.
Shappi Khorsandi has appeared on countless TV & Radio shows, including some of the most renowned comedy shows on television: Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Have I Got News For You, QI and Mock The Week. She has also appeared on reality shows such as I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, MasterChef, Pointless Celebrities, Question Time and Just a Minute, as well as having her own show, Shaparak Talk.
A popular and passionate diversity speaker, Shappi often reflects on her experiences of being a female, Iranian comic breaking into a male-dominated industry. She tackles diversity and inclusion and mental health in an extremely powerful way, since she is utterly thought-provoking, yet manages to inject humour into everything that she does. Her charmingly candid style combined with her sharp-as-a-tack delivery ensure that whether speaking virtually or in-person, she never fails to connect with an audience.
A publication of Shappi’s childhood memoirs, “A Beginner’s Guide To Acting English“, was her best-selling literary debut, described by the Scotsman as ‘filled with laughter, wonder and compassion’. Emma Thompson also said “This very funny, acute book also made me cry.”
Shaparak went on to publish her first novel, Nina Is Not Ok, which was described by the Telegraph as ‘moving, funny and shocking’ and received tremendous acclaim from critics and readers alike.
Shappi’s speaking topics include (but are not limited to):
It’s The Way You Tell It: What Does Our Humour Say About Us?
Shappi explains how, despite what some may think, comedy is not just about telling jokes. It is about taking a risk and displaying a confidence which can help you in every area of your life, and build trust with those around you. Humour is a powerful way to show other people the world as you see it and build rapport with those who, on paper, you may not seem to have anything in common.
Of course, It can also massively misfire and do the opposite, so Shaparak will outline the pitfalls and how to avoid them, too!
Defining Diversity and Embracing Cultural Difference
The drive for diversity can sometimes make people in workplaces panic and scramble around to grab the nearest brown person and plonk them in a group photo. Very often, Shappi has been that brown person.
But diversity is not about tokenistic representation, and the conversation surrounding it needs to be had much earlier and at every level of an organisation. Rather than just paying lip service to diversity, we need to discuss what it really means, why it is so important and how we can truly embrace the concept to produce beneficial and equitable outcomes for all.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
In a deeply personal and illuminating talk, Shappi takes the audience on a captivating journey from the 90s to the present day, revealing her own struggles with bulimia and anxiety disorders, and the tools and techniques she developed to cope with and overcome these issues. With candour, warmth and humour, she will explain how we could all improve our lives dramatically if we paid a little bit more attention to maintaining our mental wellbeing.
A Woman in a Man’s World: Uncovering Everyday Sexism
As one of just a handful of women in the 90s trying to break into a stand-up comedy industry dominated by bombastic men, Shappi knows all too well what it feels like to be a woman in a man’s world.
For every woman, in any sector, it can be a quiet, personal terrain to navigate. Sexism can be the hardest ‘ism’ to call out and challenge, because it can come from your closest quarters, and exist within your own family and friendship circle. In this honest and very personal talk, Shappi will examine the ways in which women and men can work together to remove the barriers constructed by past prejudice, and shine a hopeful light on changing the status quo.