Shazia Mirza is a comedian and columnist from my home city of Birmingham. Where others may stay well back, Mirza tackles difficult political topics head-on, effortlessly demonstrating to us all why comedy is so vital in this day and age and using her stand up as a platform to get us talking about important social issues. Shazia is currently preparing to take her 2015 Edinburgh show The Kardashians Made Me Do It on tour across the UK.
I asked Shazia these seven questions to learn more about her…
1) Is it important to you to find humour in serious subjects?
It’s not important, I just try to do material on whatever I feel something about. So if I’m angry, sad, happy about something, I’ll try and find jokes about that because at least I feel something about it. It’s when I don’t feel anything about anything that I feel stuck, which happens often, as you can’t care about everything and sometimes its tiring so I just think oh I’ll go to bed and have a cup of tea.
2) Which part of the country is your favourite?
I love the Midlands, because I was born in Birmingham and the humour feels very familiar when I go home. I feel like they get me, they are laughing with me, and I can make in house jokes that only we can laugh at. I can also talk ‘Birmingham’ – that is my lingo with my accent, which just makes people run from me if I do it elsewhere.
3) What is it that made you quit being a teacher?
The tipping point was when someone kept stealing my mug in the staffroom. I thought I’m not having this anymore. Also I was doing jokes in the classroom, which they just didn’t get, and I thought I could make more money doing this out in the clubs, so I did.
4) Which month of the year is your favourite?
September. I can go on holiday, it’s cheaper but it’s still hot and the kids have all gone back to school so there is peace and quiet on the beaches of the South of France.
5) Are you usually early or late for things?
Late. Because I try to fit in 20 things in one day. For some reason I still think I can do a gig in San Francisco and Leicester on the same night.
6) Do you fear failure?
I’ve failed so much that I can’t imagine progressing any further without failure. If I don’t fail at something every few months, it feels weird. Everyone needs a car crash to remind them they are not invincible.
7) Is 2015 a good time to be a comedian?
I have been a comedian in other years too, but it seems like now there is so much you can’t help but joke about. There is so much in your face that’s getting people angry and frustrated every day that there is loads to say. Everyone is being affected by something these days that can make them angry.