The funniest standup I’ve ever seen
Robin Williams, Mill Valley, San Francisco 2013, a year before his death. He is the funniest standup I have ever seen and ever will see. There will never be anyone like him; unique, intelligent, unpredictable, himself. Continue reading “The funniest thing: ‘My local rabbi is funnier than most standups’”
Remember the good old days, when people were friendlier up north? They were game for a laugh, rarely got offended, and political correctness was something that sexually repressed posh people did in London. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza on comedy in the capital after Brexit”
I used to tell jokes about my lady mustache.
I thought it was important to let everyone know about my struggle to rip follicles from the root of my face, armpit and chest every three weeks at a cost of 50 pounds a go. It was a frivolous routine, but that’s how I liked my comedy then — apolitical and areligious. Continue reading “Yes, I tell jokes about Islamic State”
Hate and lies are all the rage. Everyone’s at it. “Obama is the founder of ISIS!” and everyone believes the Trump. “We’re at breaking point” – look, here’s a poster of lots of brown men that look just like your dad, cousin and brother. If you vote out, all these scavengers that come over here for the good life, they’ll be gone in the morning. Continue reading “Once we blamed Yoko Ono. Now we blame refugees”
Each week a different comedian addresses Londoners’ issues. This week Shazia Mirza tackles your problems head on.
Continue reading “Shazia Mirza solves London’s problems”
I went to visit a friend of mine in New York last year. We went to school together in the Islamic Republic of Birmingham. We’re both Muslim, but not Fox News Muslim, we don’t secretly preach hatred about white people in our flats on a Saturday afternoon, we do not harbor a secret desire to blow up every Wetherspoons, and we do not have wet dreams about the caliphate. Continue reading “From playground to warzone”
I’ve been asked to perform my new show in Paris. I love the city. I have been there many times and had so much fun. But I am nervous this time. Comedy is all about timing. Is this the right time to do a comedy show about Isis in the city where they have just orchestrated such shocking terror attacks? Continue reading “Isis aren’t radicalising girls. They’re selling them fantasy”
In February 2015 I was in New York staying at a friend’s house. We went to school together. She is Bangladeshi; we’re both Muslim, but we’re normal. We do karaoke, love Barry Manilow, and shoplift on a Friday. We do not harbour a secret desire to blow up Buckingham Palace, and we love Netflix just as much as the infidels. Continue reading “If you want to know the truth, read the Qur’an, not The Daily Mail”
When I was eight, I knew everything. I mean I’d read all the Enid Blyton books, been on a school trip to Southport, and had a pen pal in France. I had seen it all. I also thought my mum was really boring. All she did was buy me books, get me private tutors, make me do verbal reasoning tests, and tell me that I was going to be a doctor. And that being a doctor was the only profession in the world; anyone who wasn’t a doctor had never even heard of the word “profession”. How dull. Continue reading “A Polaroid camera transformed my relationship with my mother”
A caliphate is not an ideal place to grow up if you want a career as a stand-up comic. I was brought up in Birmingham, which a Fox News pundit last week described as a “totally Muslim city . . . where non-Muslims just simply don’t go”. Continue reading “Ridicule what is sacred and you will learn”
When I’m at a gig and things are not going well, I pull out the gag that always saves me: “I have never drunk alcohol in my life, because it’s against my religion – but I have taken it up the Khyber pass a couple of times.” This joke works every time, in every situation – except when the audience is full of mullahs and priests or when I’m performing in Saudi Arabia. Continue reading “In defence of smutty jokes”
“I have never brought a woman over to India to perform, you are the first,” said my promoter Ajit Saldanha. Then he gave me a look that said: “Make sure you’re funny. Otherwise I’ll never bring over another one.” Continue reading “No offence On a stand-up tour of India…”
I have done stand up comedy all over the world. Occasionally in strange places- a tent, a kebab shop, a public toilet. Other times in precarious places – a cave in Kosovo, the Middle East amid huge censorship and Pakistan amid speculation the Taliban were arriving. The day after I performed in Pakistan a suicide bomber blew up the venue in which I had played, and it wasn’t because he’d seen my act. Continue reading “Standing up in Cambodia”
I suffer from a serious condition — shoe amnesia. Recently I bought a new dress and while in the shop decided that I had no shoes to match, so I bought a new black pair. Continue reading “It’s a Funny Old World”
When it comes to grooming, I always thought that giving nails a quick once- over with an emery board was good enough for anyone. Apparently not. Continue reading “It’s A Funny old World”
It was Monday night and I could hear Brandon Block playing his old skool disco hits from the nearby gondola car park. I was wearing jeans and a black shirt; everyone else was wearing school uniform, albeit a tighter, sexier, shorter version – shirt, tie and cleavage. I looked like a nun. Continue reading “Fancy dress and a lot of bottle at Andorra’s ski party”
I spent a month at The Edinburgh Festival and I am still recovering. So are my audience. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Stand”
I do shows and most of the time I don’t know what type of audience it’s going to be, or who’s going to be in it. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic”
I went to do a gig in Preston last week where I had to stay at the promoter’s house. As I walked in, a big brown dog- so big it looked like a horse, I could have ridden it, starts barking really loudly. I ran to the corner of the room grabbing an umbrella for protection. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand”
I had a phone call last week.
“Shazia would you like to come to Birmingham and do a gig for 200 women?
We’ll pay for you to travel first class on Virgin trains and provide cake when you get here” Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand”
Britain is a very tolerant nation. We allow people to say what they like without arresting them, we give murderers new identities and let them live amongst us, and even Jordan has fans. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand”
I always feel like a dirty smelly scoundrel when I’m in Liverpool.
I got off the train at Liverpool Lime Street in my grey jogging bottoms, tan leather boots and checked shirt with toothpaste stains on the collar. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand”
I get some strange requests. This week I received a letter from a man in Manchester saying, “It’s my wife’s birthday, we haven’t been married long, and I have been really nasty to her. I’ve been threatening to divorce her and marry our neighbour. Continue reading “Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand”
Being on a comedy panel show is like having sex with someone you hate. Continue reading “Being on a comedy panel show”