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No clouds in my Cuckooland!

Q&A Brummie stand up Shazia Mirza is bringing her latest show to The Public next week. She talks to Alison Jones about her home city, comedy taboos and celebrity friends.

Birmingham What is your latest show - Cuckooland - about and what gave you the inspiration for it? It's about lots of different things. But there's a bit in it about a friend of mine who I hadn't seen for 20 years and didn't know I was a comedian. The first thing he said to me was, "So how long are you going to keep doing this for then?" I said "The Rolling Stones are still going", and he replied: "You're deluded.. you're living in Cuckooland, you can't keep doing this!" It's about how the world is full of deluded people but you have to be a bit deluded to achieve anything.

The summing up says: Anyone can say anything. Who cares anyway? Are there any taboos still in comedy or subjects that you won't joke about? This is about everyone having an opinion these days. Everyone is a critic, everyone has an opinion, and everyone feels their opinion is valid. I believe comedians should be able to say whatever they want - as long as it's funny enough.

Your biog says you come from Birmingham, but are successful enough not to live here any more. Do you miss anything about it? Do you enjoy performing in the Midlands and do you find there are regional variations in how people respond to the material? It's a joke when I say I don't live in Birmingham any more because I'm successful enough not to. I said that because a lot of people like Black Sabbath move out of Birmingham. I love Birmingham, my parents still live there and I go there often. I love the accent, the Rag Market and Ladypool Road.

Do you get an opportunity to catch up with family and friends while you are here? Always. I always stay with my parents and I see some close friends who are married with about 26 kids each. We chat, drink tea and envy each others lives.

What's the best thing you've ever stolen (if anything)? A shovel.

What's your most embarrassing moment? I fell in a swimming pool recently with all my clothes on by accident and fell on top of an old man.

When did you last cry? Five minutes ago. Someone wrote me a really horrible email. Which other comedians do you admire/go out of your way to watch? My favourite comedians are mostly dead. Richard Pryor, and George Carlin, but I love Louis CK and have seen him live twice.

What is your greatest extravagance (and did you get your jacuzzi/cleaner?) I haven't got a jacuzzi yet. I would love to have one in my house in the future and also a steam room. But my greatest extravagance is probably my car.

Who is your most famous friend? Robin Williams (pictured, left) Which celebrity do you fancy most? George Clooney.

Best and worst memories of school? I loved school, I was the best at netball and once scored 20 goals in one match.

Worst memories? Bad reports, no boys (it was an all girls school) If you could own only one music album, what would it be? The White Album - The Beatles Has anyone broken your heart? I think so.

What is your worst trait? Impatience Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner, and what would you cook them? Richard Pryor, John Lennon, Ghandi, Shirley Bassey.

I would cook them a proper Birmingham Balti.

Shazia Mirza will be appearing at The Public, West Bromwich, on February 15 and The Drum, Birmingham, on March 30.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 8, 2013
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