Theatre

Interview: Omid Djalili chats comedy ahead of UK tour

British stand-up comedian Omid Djalili is preparing to take Schmuck For A Night on the road across the UK, so our regular comedy blogger Ben Keenan used the opportunity to catch up with the Chelsea born funnyman to have a little laugh.


Hi Omid, thanks for taking time out of your frankly manic schedule to chat. Tell us about Schmuck for a Night!

It’s an attempt to bring sense and order to the world by channeling my ‘inner Schmuck’ – kind of what Nigel Farage has been doing but in the opposite direction.

What’s your favourite joke of all time – without revealing the best from Schmuck for a Night, of course!

I said to the waiter “what kind of egg is this?” The waiter said, “chicken duck” I said, “chicken duck? What is that, a kind of hybrid?” And a chicken hit me in the back of the head with a tennis racquet.

Stand up is a very gruelling and lonely occupation – what keeps you driven to perform as much as you do?

I was discussing this very problem last night with my tour manager and my technical crew and my make up artist, my dresser, my 2 caterers, my support act and my 3 children who come to all my gigs, and we all agreed this is a very lonely business.

You’ve had quite the varied career; stand up, sketch comedian, actor and voice actor. How do you contend with having your fingers in so many pies?

I eat the pies.

Would you ever return to the West End stage if the right role came up? Your Fagin was on point!

You’re very kind. I’ve been offered something very exciting and if I can do it you could say it’s the role of a lifetime.

As a Northern Irishman I was really impressed the 1st time I heard your Northern Irish accent – how many accents can you do?

About 32. Welsh is a challenge. As is the Himalayan native who’s spent two years in Chalfont St. Peter.

What comics are making you chuckle these days and who do you think we should be looking out for?

Stewart Lee makes me laugh. As does Louis CK. Doug Stanhope when he’s in the country is worth looking out for. David Baddiel’s latest show was also excellent. One of the most underrated shows is Tim Vine’s chat show with the public. Such a simple idea veering away from celebrities but very very funny.

Any anecdotes from the Fringe this year? Dish the dirt please!

My Iraq Out Loud show where 1444 people read the Chilcot report 24 hours a day for 12 days won the panel prize. My first award for years! Oh and Hal Cruttenden came out as a man. Not a surprise.

Tell us something we don’t know about Omid? Aw go on!

I listen to my dreams. Someone from my past came to me in a dream two nights ago and said I was getting old and fat. I’ve been fasting and on a treadmill since yesterday morning.

Have Brentford Football Club found a position for you yet?

Yes. I’m now their mail man.

When your tour finishes next year what’s next for you?

Convincing Hal Cruttenden he’s funnier as a woman.

Thanks so much Omid – I look forward to seeing the show. I’d be a schmuck to miss it!!


Schmuck For A Night tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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