Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020
Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020

Shazia Mirza made me do it: jihadi brides, comedy, and controversy

We’re in the Masonic Lodge with comedic maestro Colm O’Regan and one of our star guests, Shazia Mirza, who won over our hearts yesterday with her show, The Kardashians Made Me Do It.

She’s talking about the controversy that surrounded her show initially and some of her commentary. The show talks about the young girls who went to join Isis hoping to join a revolutionary movement, and Shazia’s touches on how the true story of the girls leaving was covered in the media, as well as what actually happened, discussing the reality of the situation with a lot of humour and controversy.

She’s now talking about the fact that she thought the Zurich Dalkey Book Festival was in Switzerland.

“I thought I was going to Zurich. And then I ended up in a tent in a garden. Come to this Masonic Lodge and discuss your show – not what I was expecting!”

She’s talking about having to tell the truth in her show, The Kardashians Made Me Do It, and how she felt really compelled to relay the facts and reality of the situation of the young girls that form the subject of her show.

 

“There’s very little I’ve made up in the show – aside from the comedy. If I’m going to do this I have to tell the truth. There’d been so much stuff in the media that was just not true.”

Colm asks her about her future plans for writing shows or a book. She says she’d like to write a book maybe about ordinary things in her life.

“I like Alan Bennett he’s one of my favourite writers. He writes about the mundanity of life, I like that. I’d write something like that, not an autobiography.”

 

Colm asks her about her upbringing in a Muslim household in Birmingham. “I have a lot of Irish friends it’s the same with them. There’s a lot of religion a lot of repression a lot of lack of sex,” Shazia says, pointing to how different it is to be a teenager these days. She talks about how she used to rebel – a little bit.

“We used to take ecstasy every night. There’s nothing in the quran that says you can’t take ecstasy, so we did.”

 

Shazia is now talking about the hilarious fact that she’s an icon to gay men and Guardian readers.

Colm puts to her what she’s going to do next? “I’ll write about something that I react to strongly. I’ll just wait for that to happen. But I won’t just write something for the sake of it.”

The Masonic Lodge is totally packed and Shazia is going down a total treat, and the audience is guffawing happily.

“Will your show evolve?” Colm asks.

 

“I’ve been on tour with the show since February, I’ve done it in Paris and Brussels. There’s different reactions but what I want to say always comes through the same,” she says._MCX6429

Shazia is talking about Pakistan where her family is from, and about performing there.

“I performed at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore and the day after I left they blew up the stadium. I did a show in Karachi where we had to have bodyguards. God it was just a comedy show! So I haven’t been back to perform since.”

Shazira is talking about she believes the new generation of millennial Pakistanis are the problem ones in many ways, older generations are quite peace-loving she says. She’s saying what there’s a problem with education – the younger generations don’t have true knowledge of their culture and religion and are being taken advantage of.RRPP0174

It’s question time and the audience has a lot of questions. Shazia is fending questions about Muslim women wearing the veil, as well as the role of comedy.

One older gentleman has the floor now.

“I can see how you’re very attractive to gay men and Guardian readers. Let me assure you you’re very attractive to grandfathers also.”

Ata boy granpops.