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Interview: Omid Djalili


Interview

Iranian comic Omid Djalili talks to our comedy correspondent Joe Gardner about his visit to the Glasgow International Comedy Festival

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Glasgow International Comedy Festival is now well under way, but if you haven’t had chance to catch anything yet, there’s plenty still to come. Like Omid Djalili, for instance, who plays the King’s Theatre on Saturday. Joe Gardner grabbed a word with the country’s favourite British Iranian…

Hi Omid, thanks for talking to The Wee Review. Are you looking forward to coming back to Glasgow to perform?

I can’t wait, I think it’s the number one venue when you try out a new show. If they like it in Glasgow, they will like it anywhere! I also find Glasgow audiences much more honest; if they don’t like something they will grumble, which I like.

Do you have any favourite places to visit here? Any attractions or cafes you like?

Well, I always get taken to places and the food always seems to very good. A lot of choice in Glasgow which I like.

So what is your show all about? What will you be talking to the audience about?

All the problems that the world faces now; from problems with ISIS, to why we should or shouldn’t be bothered with American politics. But also what stand-up actually is. Why is this [stand-up] such a great art form? What is it that people actually want? I’m trying to explore those ideas. Also, what is it about one person who has the balls and the ego to take up an hour and a half of your time?

Some readers will have seen you on Splash!. What sort of an experience was that?

When I reached 46, I wanted to do something out of the box. I always said no reality shows. I had already been asked before, but then a new organiser came along and I got asked a second time. The time came where I wanted to do something different, so I said yes. Diving is different from skydiving, for example, in the fact that you are actually hitting a substance and it bloody hurts! Splash! changed my life. It made me far more brave.

I think your Nigerian Parking Attendant impression is one of my favourite routines in British comedy. What routines and gags are your favourites from other comics?

I always liked Harry Hill. His running jokes made me howl with laughter. I’ve always liked Bill Bailey’s songs as well. My support act Boothby Graffoe is someone who is very underrated; he is really great. As I have got older, I have appreciated Jimmy Carr more; I think his wit is unparalleled.

Finally, what advice would you give young comedians like me, who are starting out?

I think the best advice I can give is don’t be too pressurised to get the gag, don’t be too needy to get the gag. Enjoy the set ups. If someone had told me that ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had such a nervy stage persona that I did have back then.

Omid Djalili is @ King’s Theatre, Glasgow on Sat 19 March 2016


Joe Gardner was the winner of the Class Clowns comedy competition at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015. He was also a finalist at the Young Scot Awards 2017 for his contribution to the Arts. When he's not at the theatre, Joe works in television.

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