January 21, 2020
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Shazia Mirza

A former schoolteacher of Pakistani origin, raised in the UK, she reinvented herself as a stand-up comedy artiste

Shazia Mirza
Shazia Mirza
So you’re teaching Indians to take themselves less seriously and appreciate comedy?
I think Indian humour is very repressed and if you push the button, they’ll explode. They couldn’t get enough of it at my shows.

You’re a Muslim woman with parents from Pakistan, and you’re raised in Britain. What does that make your humour?
Very British.

So you’re poking fun at the veil at a time like this—how brave of you.
I don’t have one joke like that. It’s propaganda. The press likes to create controversy. I talk about my life, not make fun of any community.

What happens if no one laughs?
Oh, that happens all the time, especially in different countries. I improvise, I talk on and hope I’ll say something funny eventually.

Aren’t your parents worried about getting you married?
They’ve been thinking of it since I was 9.

Any Indian men of interest?
They look the same to me—greasy hair, big moustache. Maybe I can laugh them into bed.

So the press played spoiler by printing all your gags, ruining the surprise of your show?
It’s shoddy, lazy journalism. They can’t think of anything creative to say themselves, so they just regurgitate what I say on the show.

The material for your jokes come from...
Real life. You want to say what you feel.

How do your parents take your line of work?
I come from a very liberal, educated family. They come to my shows, they watch me on TV, they have been very supportive.

Is India a funny country?
What’s funny is the driving and the rickshaws—how everyone is trying to run everyone else over. And Indian women, they are so bossy! They are always telling others what to do.

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