Britain: hotbed of terrorist talent
18 December 2006
I'm in New York. I love America. It really is the land of opportunity. Unless you're black or gay. Thankfully I'm beige, and it's definitely in this season.
I flew first class on Virgin - it's so nice to have an airline named after me. I didn't eat anything on the flight. It wasn't that I was trying to avoid polonium-210 radiation poisoning; it was just that my mum told me never to accept food from strange men in red aprons. I sneaked a packed lunch on board. I was amazed it got through security. How could they tell that the fish paste in my rolls wasn't Semtex? And we all know what an offensive weapon a banana can be.
The plane landed safely and the pilot received a round of applause. Why? Because we survived? When you get off a bus, do people clap? When I get dropped off by an illegal minicab and I haven't been raped, I clap. But I do feel a bit offended if they don't try. At customs the immigration officer asked me, "Are you Muslim?" I said only on Fridays. Another officer walked behind him and said: "She's Muslim, but it's OK - she's British." Why should that be OK? All he has to do is read the papers - Britain is a hotbed of Islamic terrorist talent, and it's really put Tipton on the map.
My show was at the famous Improv Comedy Club, off Broadway. All the people who I really admire have played there - Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, Robin Williams. There was no backstage area, so I had to get changed in the laundry room, wash my face in a public toilet, and take my suitcase to the side of the stage. I must really love what I do.
The show was an hour long, and it went just great. The New York audience was open and accepting of even my edgiest material. It was not at all like India, where I had to tread on eggshells. In that sense America really is the land of the free. Maybe Borat warmed them up for me.
After the show I was taken to Room 501 of the five-star Pierre hotel on Fifth Avenue. Before I'd even unpacked I'd stolen everything from the bathroom. The room looked like the inside of Buckingham Palace, complete with four-poster bed and rose petals on the floor. I have stayed in so many great hotels recently. When I walk in now I just think "what a waste of a good mattress". A great hotel is great only if you're having a marathon champagne-fuelled sex session in there, not if you're sitting up all night watching The Simpsons and ordering courgettes from room service.
Nobody does Christmas like the Americans, and I love Mr Bush. Because of him, it is two dollars to the pound and that's why I am able to buy six pairs of Christian Louboutin heels. New York is my Santa's grotto. What Christians feel about Christmas is how I feel about shoes.
When we were growing up we didn't really celebrate Christmas, but being Asian, we always had to have the biggest tree. Ours was the size of Everest, with a small Muhammad on top instead of a fairy. Well, originally it was a fairy, but we painted its face brown to make it feel part of our family. Chrismus (a combination of being Muslim and British) is a time when we take presents; we just don't give them.
This year my mum is spending Christmas in Mecca (not the bingo hall). It's not your average Christmas holiday destination. I have never walked past Thomas Cook and seen "Xmas in the Sun - Mecca, £599. One Way". She is going to do the haj for the eighth time (surely she must be forgiven for running down that Jew by now). My dad, who is also a devout Muslim, will be spending Christmas at home getting pissed. I'll be spending the time getting tipsy from brandy butter and weeping through the Queen's Speech. At heart, my family is British through and through.