Shazia’s Week

Tonight is the last night of The Edinburgh Festival. It’s like the last day of school.You empty out your drawer taking home all your old pens and pencils and worry about going to the big school.

I would love to be able to tell you the truth about what has been going on this month but I’m not in a position to do that just yet. All I can say is that I long for the day when I am allowed to be who I am without having to apologize for it or justify it. My struggle is not being on stage, my struggle is about being allowed to get to the stage.

My parents never wanted me to be a comedian, they said “You’ll never be accepted in show business, it’s best to stick to medicine, the NHS can’t survive without our lot”. But I said no- what show business really needs is a hairy Asian woman asking such profound questions as why everything in Oxfam is made of wool and tweed?

Nowadays, I am an outsider in a world of outsiders. It’s like I’ve gate crashed the comedy world and now I’m standing in this room everyone staring at me asking “Where’s your invitation and who invited you? Some people say ‘Now that you’re here keep a low profile and nobody will notice’. Then there are others who say fuck off and leave and they keep bitching to the bouncers to have me thrown out.

It takes a while to realize that the host of the party is the paying public who come back time and time again, and in the face of all this hostility it’s reassuring to know that it’s the public who decide weather you stay or weather you go. The bear pit at the front of the stage is mild compared to the bearpit at the back. It’s a bit like my parents garden. The front looks like Alan Titmarch’s Chelsea Flower Show entry and the back looks like the garden of Fred West.

To be honest, after a month at the festival, I feel there are some people that don’t want me in this business and if it were legal they would put a steak through my heart to get rid of me.

But I don’t have an alternative. Teaching won’t take me back and no Muslim man wants to marry me now that I’m ‘damaged goods’ having dabbled in a few jokes and fingered a few white men on the 38 bus. So until there’s a vacancy for another newsreader on Channel 4, I’m here to stay.

I wish they would try and make me go to rehab, because I would go go go.There should be rehabilitation for performers coming back from the Edinburgh Festival. In a way it’s like Belmarsh. You get incarcerated for a month, in my case in an immobile caravan and now that it’s ended I feel like I’m going to need help integrating back into society. I might have re-lapses where I start cracking jokes about WAGS in the library, and doing my Oxfam routine in Harrods.

The most terrifying thing is having to face how your home looks when you’ve been away for a month. I come home and it feels like living in a Doctor’s waiting room. NHS of course. The toilet is dirty, the carpet’s got crabs and there’s baked beans up the walls.

I managed to buy the last two tickets to see Joan Rivers show ‘A life in progress’. I sat on the third row with gay men and menopausal women. The play is about her life. The people sitting around me laughed like mad, cried hysterically then laughed and cried at the same time and one woman wet herself (that was me).

Joan swore with panache using swear words beginning with C. I tried to imagine my mum doing that, she’s 65 and can’t open her mouth without passing wind and her dentures falling out. The play was brilliant and her story was amazing, it made my little struggle seem like- I need to struggle a bit more.

Seeing her, I felt that while I may have gatecrashed the party, this woman has broken in, pissed in the garden, supplied all the poppers, and is the only one body popping on the dance floor.