10 Questions : With Comedienne Zahra Barri

Introduce yourself and what are you all about?
I do Comedy! Well, actually it’s probably more fair to say that Comedy ‘does’ me.Were you one of the naughty ones at school?
I was at Primary school. I was in trouble all the time but only for really trivial things like vandalising the toilets, stealing people’s jumpers and burying them in the school field, breaking and entering classrooms out of school hours and pouring ink all over the carpets, playing Knock and Run on the staffroom door, that sort of thing. I calmed down at Secondary school and focussed all that energy on just to snog as many boys as possible. My record was 13 boys in one night at an under 16’s disco in Aldershot. I was just going up to boys asking them if they would get off with me and then they’d say ‘yeah alright’ and then we’d just start snogging. If only dating was that simple now.

So you aren’t a princess then?
No. I only let myself do ugly crying Kim Kardashian face once a year, the rest of the time I take it on the chin and deal with it. I hate the princess culture that we live in. I mean who really wants to be Kate Middleton anyway? I’d rather be her sister and just be an arse. I have never stood in front of a mirror and taken a selfie. We’re such a vain society. Some of my friends just care about how someone looks when they are swiping on Tinder. I tell my girlfriends, see the bigger picture, some men are like a pair of Ugg boots, they look awful but feel good inside.

Tell me about a time when a joke came out of nowhere?
Joke writing is like going for a wee. Sometimes it flows out of you so easily and so naturally and sometimes you have a really bad urinary tract infection and the process is a whole lot harder and painful. I believe that if you sit on the toilet something will always come out even if you don’t think you need to go. So I would never say that my jokes have come from nowhere. They have almost largely come from having a horrific time on the toilet.

What’s the worst experience you have encountered on stage?
I sometimes have out of body experiences doing stand-up. And they are always the worst because I’m not in the moment, it’s like I have floated up outside of my body and am just watching myself like an audience member. I’m saying my jokes but I’m dead behind the eyes because I’m not totally present. Those are the worst. Being funny is about being in the moment and reacting to the room. If I’ve gone off to ‘Zahra Land’ it’s just the worst gig ever. That and one time I did a gig in Kent.

What tips would you give someone thinking starting up in stand up?
Don’t do it. If you can live without doing it, then don’t do it.
If you still want to do it then don’t use your real name and never tell your partner where you’re going at night. If you want to maintain respect its better your partner thinks you’re having an affair then trying stand up.

What have you had to compromise to become a comedian?
My Friday and Saturday nights. And quite often my Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday and Sunday nights. And also my plans in the daytime if I need to travel to get to the gig. So basically my whole life.

Tell me something about you that no one knows publicly?
I don’t like talking to people or being the centre of attention.

Who on the circuit can you see ending up on Live at the Apollo?
I truly believe that in the future every comic will eventually get to be on Live At The Apollo for 15 minutes. Because that’s how long their sets are. (Or at the very least get free tickets to see their mate perform on Live At The Apollo and not be bitter about it at all. )

What’s coming up in 2018 for you?
Touring my new show ‘Zahra Barri is Zahra: Warrior Not Princess’ around the country.  I’m at Leicester Comedy Festival 24th Feb Find out more here .  Be funny. The two things are separate from each other.