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Omid Djalili ( ; ; born 30 September 1965) is a British stand-up comedian and actor.


Personal life

Djalili was born in Chelsea, Londonmarker to Iranianmarker Bahá'í parents and is a Bahá'í himself. He attended Holland Park Schoolmarker and then the University of Ulster in Colerainemarker, Northern Irelandmarker, studying English and Theatre studies.

Comedy career

The first significant success of his stand-up comedy career was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1995 with "Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son", followed by "The Arab and the Jew" in 1996. In his act he claimed to be the only Iranian comedian which, he said, was "three more than Germanymarker". His stand-up routines and jokes focus primarily on multiculturalism and ethnic peculiarities. His hyperactive and energetic manner of imitating accents, undercutting political humour with absurd bellydances and singing has earned him a significant worldwide following.

He has performed in numerous countries, including Australia, Irelandmarker, Denmarkmarker, Canadamarker, Germany and the United States, where he had his own HBO Special and did 22 episodes of the NBC sitcom Whoopi with Whoopi Goldberg. Fans of his work include the Emir of Qatar, the late Robin Cook, and Bill Clinton. In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. He did his part for Comic Relief after the 2005 Indian Ocean earthquakemarker and also in 2005 he appeared on the British TV show Top Gear as a celebrity driver. The same year he broke Edinburgh Festival box office records with over 16,500 ticket sales.

In 2006, Sky Television picked him to be the face of their Saturday night movie premières, and he also announced a new tour of the UK called 'No Agenda', from January 2007 until March 2007, covering 23 different dates. The No Agenda tour DVD was released in late 2007.

On 18 March 2007 he was voted by the British public as the 60th best stand-up comedian in a Channel 4 programme "The 100 Greatest Stand-Ups".

On 26 October 2007 he guest-presented the BBC political quiz show Have I Got News for You.

The Omid Djalili Show started on BBC1 on 17 November, 2007. The series is a mix of sketches and stand-up material. A second series was recorded in late 2008 and began broadcast on BBC1 on 20 April, 2009.

Omid performed at Pleasance as part of the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in 2008.

Omid also performed on We Are Most Amused on ITV to mark Prince Charles's 60th birthday in 2008.

Live tours

Omid Djalili: No Agenda (2007)

Omid Djalili Live (2008)

Film career

Djalili has appeared in a number of films, most notably Gladiator, The Mummy, Mean Machine, Alien Autopsy, Spy Game, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Grow Your Own and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. He has himself noted the fact that he usually appears as a generic Middle Eastern background character in many of these films, often commentating that he appears in the "James Bond film" as the "Second Azerbaijani oil pipe attendant". He is probably best-known to American audiences as Nasim from the US sitcom Whoopi, starring alongside actress Whoopi Goldberg and picked up an international film award for Best Supporting Actor in Casanova, starring alongside the late Heath Ledger.

Acting career

On 12 February 2009, Cameron Macintosh (producer) announced that Djalili will appear as the second Fagin in the new West Endmarker production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Omid is scheduled to take over from Rowan Atkinson who is contracted until 18 July 2009.




Video gaming


Djalili has won awards for his comedy. These include the EMMA Award, Time Out Award, and LWT Comedy Award for Best Stand-up Comedian, Spirit of the Fringe Award as well as the One World Media Award for his Channel 4 documentary, Bloody Foreigners.

He has also been nominated for awards, such as the Perrier Award for Best Comedian, the Gemini Award for Best Comedy Performance of 2003, the South Bank Award for Best Comedy of 2003, the Royal Television Society Award for Best Stand-up, and the European TV Award for his Bloody Foreigners.

See also


  3. In The Arena With Omid Djalili By Darius Kadivar, Payvand's Iran News, 3/12/07
  4. TV Heaven, Telly Hell - Omid Djalili
  5. Omid Djalili pockets Fagin role in Oliver!

External links

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