Making the Money Work: Shappi Khorsandi on getting comedy to pay the bills?

Mar 03, 11:47 AM
On this episode of Making the Money Work podcast, comedian Shappi Khorsandi joins Andi Peters and Simon Lambert to discuss how she built a career in comedy, her unusual life as the daughter of an exiled Iranian poet - and how she once hired Alan Carr to work in a charity call centre.

This is the final episode of five in the Making the Money Work series, in partnership with FSCS, that has appeared in the This is Money podcast feed every fortnight since the start of the year. We hope you have enjoyed them.

Your usual This is Money podcast will continue to be published every Friday

How do you make comedy pay the bills?

That’s not a problem for the handful of star names with giant arena tours, but what about the majority of comedians who’ve dedicated a life’s work to standing up and making people laugh without raking in millions?

Shappi tells of her route to becoming a comedian and how she realised a job in an office wasn’t for her early on, swapping that for being a cleaner and nude life model for art students - because she could do those jobs while daydreaming. 

Later on, she says having stripped off to sit for artists meant she was less worried about getting up on stage and doing stand-up in front of a crowd.

The comedian, who has appeared on popular TV shows including Have I Got News for You, QI, Live at the Apollo and Mock the Week, is a single mother-of-two who supports her and her two children alone and has struggled to make ends meet.

Shappi says she spent many years being ‘skint’ but that when her career took off, she was so taken aback at suddenly having money that she had to learn she had earned it and was worth it, and not to be overly generous in giving it away.

She says she loves her work so much that she cannot imagine ever doing anything else, but now plans her comedy and writing so that the money she earns enables her to spend the time she wants to with her children.

And as for the money she earned for doing I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here? 

That, says Shappi, bought her entire year of bedtimes with her children.