Shappi Khorsandi is effortlessly funny as she handles every subject with a razor-sharp wit, softened by her deliciously mischievous delivery and endless charm. Shappi brings her new show ‘Mistress and Misfit’ to The Apex on 14 May, and presents England’s unsung heroine, Emma Hamilton in a whole new light…
The comedian says she had a ball writing the show, which focuses on Emma, Lady Hamilton, the mistress and misfit who lit up the life of Admiral Nelson and added to the gaiety of nations during the Georgian era: “This show has been the most fun to write. It’s about passion and tragedy. What better things are there to write comedy about?”
Women’s lib wasn’t uppermost in people’s minds in Georgian times. Emma moved heaven and earth to drag herself from scullery maid to Lady Hamilton. Shappi is eager to celebrate the woman England betrayed. “I was fascinated by Emma. She was really clever and compassionate and very hard done by. She was also a master of re-invention and a fantastically creative person.”
“I initially tried to write a novel about her, but it was too hard, so I thought I’d do a show about it instead. That was easier and funnier. I relate Emma’s life to modern women and, like all stand ups, I draw people into the world as I see it so it’s still a very personal show.”
The comedian also sees many parallels between the attitudes towards women then and now. “Any woman who does anything seen as salacious is still demonised today. It’s not exclusive to Georgian times.” “The term ‘gold-digger’ is still banded about willy-nilly, when we don’t know anything about that woman. Women who are viewed as marrying above their station are still derided. There are massive parallels with today.”
Chatting in the run-up to the tour, Shappi underlines the sheer thrill she gets from stand-up. “It’s really amazing!” exclaims the comedian “It’s like skydiving. The adrenaline rush is incredible. It’s probably the only time in my day when I’m utterly focused and have no responsibility to anyone else apart from the audience. If I haven’t done stand-up for a while, I just have to get back on stage. I need it like oxygen!”
Shappi Khorsandi is performing at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Monday 14 May at 8pm. Tickets are £15, with £13 concessions, ring the box office on 01284 758000 or see the website www.theapex.co.uk for more details, or to book.