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‘A Spurt of Fun’ at Leicester Comedy Festival

Local comedian Ishi Khan is one of hundreds of performers hoping to tickle your funny bone at this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

Here she describes what people can expect from her shining and ridiculously joyful show ‘I Am Happy.’

How would you describe your style of comedy?

“It’s quite observational – it’s alternative and silly at times, but usually there is quite a serious message in there as well. I draw on the themes of migration, but also identity and belonging which I think everyone can relate to. I also draw on a lot of the things that happen in my life, which makes for good material.

My advice to anyone thinking of coming to one of my shows is that if you’re not into having a great big laugh – or you’re not a fan of fun and silliness, please stay away!”

Tell us about your show ‘I am Happy’, which you’re bringing back for this year’s Leicester Comedy

This is actually the first show I wrote ten years ago, and I thought it would be great to dust it off and bring it back for
2024. It was actually born out of quite a serious thing – the financial crisis and how it affected people and their emotional health.

At the time, I was hearing stories from friends in Iceland that people were considering suicide because they were having to downgrade from their 4x4s to cars and stuff like that.
As an African migrant who came from very little, I found it very hard to understand. So I thought if I talk a little bit about the things that make me happy, then maybe people will feel happy too. That was my thinking at the time…

So what kind of things make you happy?

I just love being playful and silly! I love laughter therapy – I love doing it with children and elderly people – just anyone really. I love doing comedy, I love travelling, listening to music and I love my cat – she’s amazing!
I love nature, being creative and meeting people. I love conversations, collaborations. I love dance -dance, dance and even more dance!

I understand that Bollywood dance is quite a big thing in your shows. How did that start?

Sure. After my first show, I ended with a Bollywood dance, and that became my signature thing. So now every show has to have a Bollywood dance at the end! I can’t say it’s going to be any good, but you know… It’s a bit of fun! Bring along your bindis and your sparkles!

What else can people expect from the show?

Expect plenty of anecdotes on how to keep happy despite life’s boulders, curveballs and tumbleweeds. And also sparkle- lots of sparkle, fun and silliness! Come along if you’re after a spurt of fun!

How do you find Leicester Comedy Festival?

I’ve performed there for the past ten years and I love it. It’s such a friendly vibe and you know you’re going to get an appreciative audience. I love the timing of the festival as well in February when people can often be feeling a bit miserable. Christmas is over and everyone’s got to go back to work. So it’s a wonderful time to get people out their houses again, connecting and having a great time.

How does comedy make you feel?

I think comedy is my purpose. I get such a buzz out of performing and the joy it brings. It lights up my soul.
I don’t know who said this quote but I absolutely love it. ‘Always leave a place better than when you first found it,’ and that’s what I strive to do.

Leicester Comedy Festival 2024 will take place from February 7 – 25.
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