Since Bush’s War on Nothing, (sorry ‘Terror’) the focus on the Middle East has never been so sharp and the stand-up of Middle Eastern comedians never more relevant.
Enter Omid Djalili.
Possibly the most beloved Iranian man in the UK, Omid Djalili is more energetic than a bunny in springtime with a stage persona to match his personality.
Described by The Scotsman as “burly but surprisingly athletic” and “painfully funny” by The Independent this Chelsea-born Iranian couples together intelligent and political insights of current affairs with a barrage of sidesplitting laughs regularly reducing audiences to tears (the good kind!).
His ability to switch effortlessly and brilliantly between his Iranian and English accents and his focus on multiculturalism and ethnic peculiarities has endeared him to audiences worldwide.
Omid Djalili has been in the business of stand-up since the mid 90s where he had his first significant triumph at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1995 with his show Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son.
From then stardom beckoned as his subsequent shows The Arab and the Jew (1996) Omid Djalili Is Ethnic (1997) The Iranian Ceilidh (1999) Warm to my Winning Smile (2000) and Behind Enemy Lines (2002) all became a must-see at the Festival.
Djalili’s No Agenda show was when he really hit the big time. With sales at the Fringe totalling 16,500, he went on a 40-date sell-out tour including two dates at the London Palladium. Needless to say the DVD did rather well.
Counting Bill Clinton as a fan, Djalili was once nominated for a Perrier award and has won the Time Out award for Best Comedian.
Aside from being pant-wettingly funny on stage, Djalili is quite the thespian too. He’s been invading Hollywood for the past decade having roles in mega blockbusters such as The Mummy, Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
He’s a regular on British television having appeared on Live at the Apollo, Top Gear, Black Books, Little Britain and as a guest host on Have I Got News For You. Oh and not forgetting his own sketch show The Omid Djalili Show which enjoyed a second series in 2009.
Djalili also spent a season stateside in 2003 starring alongside the legend that is Whoopi Goldberg in her own NBC sitcom Whoopi.
In July 2009 Djalili took over the role of Fagin from Rowan Atkinson in the West End production of Oliver! – does this man ever sleep!?
Most recently Omid starred in his very own film. Written by David Baddiel The Infidel is a “comedy of ethnic proportions” featuring Djalili as an East End Muslim who discovers he’s adopted…and Jewish. Uh oh.
He apologised on his website for his lack of good looks but said “I will be flying the flag for fat bald men everywhere”. Bless. He also had a role in Sex and the City 2.