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Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili
Djalili at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1965-09-30) 30 September 1965
Chelsea, London, England
Medium Film, television, stand-up
Subject(s) Religion, race, culture, stereotypes, human interaction

Omid Djalili (Persian: امید جلیلی‎‎; born 30 September 1965)[1] is an Iranian-British stand-up comedian, actor, television producer, voice actor and writer.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Comedy career 2
  • Acting career 3
  • Other activities 4
  • Awards 5
  • Personal life 6
  • Works 7
    • Film 7.1
    • Television 7.2
    • Video games 7.3
    • Stand-up DVDs 7.4
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

Djalili was born in Chelsea, London to Iranian Bahá'í parents and is a Bahá'í himself.[2][3] He attended Holland Park School and then the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, studying English and Theatre studies.[4]

Comedy career

Djalili performing at the Arts Depot in 2007

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" with Jewish comedian Ivor Dembina in 1996.[5][6]

He has performed in numerous countries, including Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Canada and the United States, where he had his own HBO Special and did 22 episodes of the NBC sitcom Whoopi with Whoopi Goldberg.

He did his part for Comic Relief after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami 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 film 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.[7] 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 BBC 1 on 20 April 2009. He performed on We Are Most Amused on ITV1 to mark Prince Charles's 60th birthday in 2008.

Acting career

Djalili has appeared in a number of films, most notably Gladiator, The Mummy, Mean Machine, The World Is Not Enough, Alien Autopsy, Spy Game, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Grow Your Own, Notting Hill, Mr Nice, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Sex and the City 2 and provides his voice in Over the Hedge.

He had observed that he usually appears as a generic Middle Eastern background character in many of these films, often commenting that he appears in the James Bond film as the "Second Azerbaijani oil pipe attendant". He appeared as Nasim in the U.S. sitcom Whoopi, starring Whoopi Goldberg, and picked up an international film award for Best Supporting Actor in Casanova, starring alongside Heath Ledger and Jeremy Irons.

On 12 February 2009, producer Cameron Macintosh announced that Djalili would appear as the second Fagin in the new West End production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Omid took over from Rowan Atkinson, who was contracted until 18 July 2009.[8]

In 2009, Djalili became the voice of Yusuf Amir in the popular gaming series Grand Theft Auto. He took up the role in the Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony spin-off game. In 2010, he starred in the David Baddiel scripted film The Infidel.

In 2010, Djalili starred in a series of TV and cinema adverts for[9]

Djalili appeared in the short-lived NBC sitcom The Paul Reiser Show, which was a midseason replacement for the 2010-11 television season.[10]

For the BBC Learning project "Off By Heart Shakespeare", Omid played Lord Capulet from Romeo and Juliet and delivered the speech "Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!"[11]

Djalili will appear in the Sky TV adaptation of "Moonfleet' shooting in Ireland in 2013.[2]

Other activities

In 2008, he was an official festival judge for the Noor Iranian Film Festival. In June 2010, Djalili appeared in a Meltdown Festival concert[12] given by the Philharmonia Orchestra at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, performing the part of the narrator in 'Rubaiyat', a tone poem by American classical composer Alan Hovhaness which sets the words of Omar Khayyám to music. He also appeared on the Graham Norton Show on 17 February 2012, alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Cuba Gooding Jr..


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.

Personal life

Djalili is a Chelsea fan and has also appeared many times in the club's in-house channel, Chelsea TV.[13]




Video games

Stand-up DVDs

  • No Agenda: Live at the London Palladium (26 November 2007)
  • Live in London (16 November 2009)
  • Tour of Duty (19 November 2012)

See also


  1. ^ Omid Djalili profile IMDb
  2. ^ Omid Djalili: Everybody's fool The Independent, 12 February 2006
  3. ^ In The Arena With Omid Djalili By Darius Kadivar, Payvand's Iran News, 3 December 2007
  4. ^ TV Heaven, Telly Hell - Omid Djalili
  5. ^ "Comedian Ivor Dembina". Chortle Comedy Website. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ivor Dembina shows". University of Glasgow Scottish Theatre Archive. 
  7. ^ "Have I Got News for You". BBC. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Omid Djalili pockets Fagin role in Oliver!", The Guardian article, 11 February 2009
  9. ^ "Omid Djalili Money Supermarket adverts on YouTube". Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  10. ^ "NBC Unveils 2010-11 Primetime Schedule Accented by Five New Comedies, Seven New Dramas and New Alternative Program". The Futon Critic. May 16, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2010. 
  11. ^ """Schools - Teachers - Off By Heart Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet "Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!. BBC. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  12. ^ "Philharmonia Orchestra: Hovhaness". Southbank Centre. 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  13. ^ Fenners meets Omid Djalili, ESPN (UK), 19 April 2010
  14. ^ "GRAND THEFT AUTO IV - Xbox World 360 Preview (News)". 2009-09-07. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  15. ^ "Features - 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand: Audio Postmortem". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 

External links

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