Comedy benefit gig for the Refugee Council hits the London stage - Refugee Council
April 29, 2002

Comedy benefit gig for the Refugee Council hits the London stage

Refugee Council Statement

The Refugee Council’s highly successful comedy night returns to the Comedy Store on Monday 20 May providing a wry look at the public debate and representation of refugees. Omid Djalili and Shappi Khorsandi, leading comedians who both fled Iran as refugees will share the stage with Jeff Innocent, Adam Bloom, Paul Thorne and Shazia Mirza.

The comedy benefit night raised over £5,000 last year and this year the Refugee Council hopes to top this target.

Fazil Kawani, the Refugee Council’s Director of Communications speaking on behalf of the organisation said:

“Refugees are not a problem but an asset – as we can see from the performers on stage tonight including two very funny comedians both forced out of Iran. The audience will benefit from their comic talent and the money raised will benefit other refugees persecuted out of their homelands and trying to re-build their lives here.”

Performing on the night, Shappi Khorsandi said:
“Until you lose your freedom of expression you never truly value it and realise that without it, life is merely an existence. I cherish the fact that I can go on stage and express my views on the world and poke fun in any way I want. My family was forced out of Iran after my father, a satirist, wrote humourous poems and articles criticising the Ayatollah causing the Hezbollah to demand his execution. We were given sanctuary in Britain. I get very angry about attitudes towards refugees today and how they are treated. I wish people would realise that you only leave your homeland, your family, and your language for another country when you’re absolutely desperate.”

Notes to editors

1. “No Laughing Matter” – a night of comedy for the Refugee Council is on Monday 20 May at the Comedy Store, Oxendon St, London SW1. Doors open at 6.30pm, show begins at 8pm.

2. Tickets cost £15 call Refugee Council on 020 7820 3034 or via Ticketmaster (subject to booking fee) on 020 7344 0234 or

3. All comedians performing on behalf of the Refugee Council are available for interview.