Among the usual mix of soap stars, former footballers and popstars from yesteryear on the ‘I’m A Celebrity’ line-up is one contestant we reckon everyone should be excited about.
Comedian Shappi Khorsandi looks set to inject some much needed humour into this year’s jungle, and if her stand up is anything to go by, she’s going to be a hoot.
Ahead of her debut on the ITV reality show, get to know here a little better with her 9 Facts In 90 Seconds...
1. She originally hails from Iran
Shappi was born in Tehran in 1973, but left Iran as a child, after her family were forced to flee the country due to a satirical poem her father published which was seen as critical of the Islamic Revolution.
2. She is from a funny family
Both her brother (Peyvand Khorsandi) and father (Hadi Khorsandi) are also also in comedy, and she says humour is such an important part of their family.
She told the Guardian in 2015: “Being witty is seen as an important quality. No matter what terrible trouble we were in as children, if we were able to make our parents laugh it would redeem us.
“Even the assassination attempt was a huge laugh in our family.
“My dad would talk about the fact that they wanted him dead in a way that would make you howl. He bought us all Ayatollah Khomeini Spitting Image masks and he used to dress up as the Ayatollah in robes and makes us giggle.”
3. Her comedy plays on the British-Iranian cultural divide and generation gap
Having begun her stand-up career in 1997, she has worked her way up from small gigs, to the likes of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’ and ‘Live At The Apollo’, where audiences lapped up her take on life as a British-Iranian.
4. She is a regular on a number of panel shows
If you’re a fan of ‘QI’, ‘Have I Got News For You’ or Radio 4′s ‘The News Quiz’, chances are you’ve probably seen Shappi on the panel, providing her trademark dry and observational humour.
5. She identifies as bisexual
Shappi recently revealed she is attracted to both genders in an interview with John Bishop about the lead character in her book, ‘Nina Is Not OK’, which is based on her own experiences.
“I think it’s a lot easier to come out as bisexual now but when I was her age, straight friends of mine, it would jolt them, even those that weed on gay pride parades. ’Oh, are you bisexual are you going to fancy me now?′ So you sort of go back in the closet. And don’t mention it again for another decade,” she explained.
“I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in publicly until now.”
6. She is president of the British Humanist Association
Identifying as an atheist and humanist, Shappi became president of the British Humanist Association in 2016, working with the charity to represent “people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs”.
7. She is a mum of two and is going to miss her kids terribly in the jungle
Shappi has a son, Cassius, with ex-husband comedian Christian Reilly, as well as a four-year-old daughter, Genevieve, from a previous relationship.
Of leaving them behind to do the show, she says: “It’s going to be the longest time I’ve been apart from my children and that is frightening but I hope
other people will be kind when you are having your wobble.”
8. It was her friend Joel Dommett who inspired her to do the show
Last year’s runner up and new ‘Extra Camp’ host Joel was Shappi’s inspiration for signing up for ‘I’m A Celebrity’, having known him from the comedy circuit.
“I just felt that it was a good time for me to do something like this,” she says. “It’s something a bit challenging and really out of my comfort zone. I didn’t talk to Joel about it beforehand as it’s been a big secret but I am feeling both excited and terrified about the prospect.”
9. She’s might not get on with Stanley Johnson
The pair look set for a tense first meeting on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, after Shappi slammed his son Boris Johnson over British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran, just days before joining the show.
Taking to Twitter, Shappi criticised the Foreign Secretary for talking “damaging bollocks”, when he claimed Nazanin had been teaching journalism in Iran before she was detained - a comment which he has since admitted was incorrect.
‘I’m A Celebrity’ launches on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.