Shazia Mirza: ‘When I was eight, my mother said, “You are ugly, and ugly girls can’t become actresses”’

The standup comedian on claiming she had Covid to get out of a gig, the thrill of shoplifting and her crush on Tony Blair

Born in Birmingham, Mirza, 46, was a science teacher for over a decade before becoming a standup comedian in 2000. She made her name touring her show The Kardashians Made Me Do It, followed by With Love from St Tropez. This year she performs Coconut, which was nominated for best standup tour at the Channel 4 National Comedy awards, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 3-28 August. Her podcast with John Kampfner is called Pale, Male and Stale, and her television work includes the BBC Two series Pilgrimage. She lives in London.

What is your earliest memory?
I arranged a birthday party for myself when I was seven and didn’t tell my parents. All my school friends turned up to the house and my mum told them to go home.

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