Saturday, March 06, 2010

On the Inspiration To Be a Comic: For Djalili, it was a Kahlil Gibran scholar

"I've had the weight of the world on me from a very young age," he tells me, with great seriousness. "I'm a minority within a minority. I'm not just an Iranian Briton, I'm a Baha'i Iranian Briton. Even Muslims think I'm weird. For years I was this wacky, cult figure packing out tiny comedy venues. I thought it would be like that forever. To be on BBC1 was a real stamp of approval. Plus it went to about 30 different countries. I went to Israel recently. Usually they give me trouble at the airport but this time they said, "I love your TV show" and just sent me through with no search. I like to think that from watching that show they trusted my viewpoint."

You know that Omid Djalili is a Baha'i. Did you know he was inspired to become a comic by a Baha'i scholar who is "the foremost authority on the works of Kahlil Gibran"? -gw
School was, by all accounts, a disaster for Djalili. Having flunked his O-levels he went on to take 49 different A-level papers over three years, and failed the lot of them. Desperate to go to university, he lied about his grades on his Ucas form and got a place at Ulster. He emerged with a high 2:1, proving that he wasn't the dunce that everyone had assumed he was.

"I had a Lebanese professor there, Suheil Bushrui, who was a friend of Prince Charles and advisor to many countries. He was a short, fat, bald man, though he was so charming people treated him like George Clooney. He had faith in me; he made me feel like I had potential to be unleashed. He confided in me once that all he ever wanted to do was be an actor, so I thought 'Well that's what I'll do then'."

Posted via email from baha'i music

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