News: Shappi Khorsandi Speaks Out About Comedy's Recent #Metoo Movement

News: Shappi Khorsandi To Appear On Question Time

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi has spoken out about sexual misconduct in the comedy industry, saying that “In the nineties, we thought feminism was matching the men pint for pint, and pretending we really enjoyed one-night stands. We never verbalised the horrible stuff that was going on.”

Khorsandi was being interview by fellow comedian Tom Price for his podcast My Mate Bought A Toaster, in which celebrities are interviewed in a memorable new way – on a trip back through their Amazon purchase history.

After discussing how Shappi bought a copy of the notorious pick-up artist advice book ‘The Game’ after she’d found out the tactics had been being used on her, conversation moved on to the current #MeToo movement taking place in the comedy industry. Countless female comedians have talked about men – fellow comics – who have been guilty of sexual misconduct.

Khorsandi recently tweeted about some of her experiences: "God it’s endless. Arse grabbed before going stage, ‘look out, strippers here’ at my managers funeral. ‘Shappi’s get the duct tape, I’ll open the boot’ All by massively respected guys. And other endless, grubby, demeaning shit over the years."

Read this interview excerpt below

Tom Price: “This is something which resonates with what’s going on at the moment in the stand-up world. It’s so important and it’s overdue, the #MeToo moment happening in stand-up land. And I guess this book plays into it as well – this feels like it flags up the way that men have been behaving, in the stand-up world as well.”


Shappi Khorsandi: “What’s happening on the comedy circuit is really interesting – you and I are both from the nineties where we didn’t talk about this stuff. We thought feminism was matching the men pint for pint, and pretending we really enjoyed one-night stands. But we had no way of verbalising that actually we didn’t want that to happen, because we were meant to just enjoy what the men enjoyed. That was what the whole ‘ladette’ culture sold to us. So we never verbalised the horrible stuff that was going on, not even to our closest friends. We were all meant to just laugh it off or drink it off.”

“And then, with what’s happening now, I realise that it’s no coincidence that that guy doing that to me, he wasn’t the first, it had happened before. And now I talk to the younger female comedians, who are so much more tuned in to this kind of stuff than my generation was, they’re like ‘yeah, because you displayed traits that they recognise as vulnerable, and yet you’re a strong person’. And it’s a game – it’s a vulnerability that they see. It can happen to anybody but if it’s happening to you quite a bit, then there’s a certain type of guy that sees that vulnerability. It’s finding the right victim.”


Price: “Well yes, it says in ‘The Game’ that you’ve got to keep going, you have to try loads of women because it won’t work with all of them. That’s baked into this thing. And the connection with the comedy industry and stand-up world - there’s no denying that this is something that us men who have been part of the comedy world for a while need to talk about. There is a certain type of man who does that, who also often has the same personality traits as a stand-up comic. So you can get that sort of person doing these things on the comedy circuit and it’s about time this conversation was had to flag up the men who are doing this – it needs to happen.”


Khorsandi: “I remember once being like 23, again, very young, and going to a comedy club – and they’re all men – it’s not like today where there are so many more women, and they talk to one another. We didn’t then. I didn’t have any friends. And I turned up to this gig, and this male comedian went ‘Oh, here she is! I’ll get the knife, you get the duct tape. Oi you! Open the boot.’ And the other comedians rolled their eyes, like ‘oh what’s he like?’. And then one guy said to him ‘mate, steady on’. And then this guy took the mickey out of him for standing up for me. I look back on that and just think, so, you walk into a dressing room, some guy makes a joke about putting you in a car boot, and then you’re meant to go on the same stage, and do the same job, and make the same audience laugh…”


Price: “Yeah, it’s undermining you. That’s what it’s trying to do.”


Khorsandi: “Massively, massively undermining you. And that’s what ‘The Game’ is - to knock your confidence, undermine you. But yeah, I’ve found all this stuff on the circuit that people are talking about very triggering. Even that was a word we didn’t use – we didn’t use the word ‘triggering’, we didn’t use the expression ‘body autonomy’, no one knew what ‘gaslighting’ meant. We didn’t have this vocabulary, so it’s been quite a weekend, let me tell you!”

Listen to the full episode here.

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