Following a massive 110 date tour of his show Schmuck for a Night earlier in the year, award winning comedian and actor Omid Djalili is embarking on a brand new batch of dates for Autumn, including a night at Wimborne's Tivoli Theatre. Here he sits down for a chat with Ben Williams…

The new show's called 'Schmuck for a Night'. Why Schmuck?

I like the word ‘schmuck’. It means ‘fool’ or buffoon. You have to be a schmuck to do comedy in today’s climate. I’m embracing the schmuck in me to take on the big issues of our day.

I found the show mellower than your other tours. Is that fair to say?

I've become less frenetic. I used to dance every two minutes in between the stand up. I can’t even remember why. It was mentioned to me that when I danced audiences were laughing at me not with me. So it was either stop dancing or ban my manager from the gigs.

You touch on Brexit, ISIS and Trump in the show. It's a long tour, will the show change while you’re on the road?

Well, I think the show will change even while I’m on stage. It’ll be so current sometimes audiences won’t laugh until they get home and turn on the TV.

Are you looking forward to that challenge?

Of course. Although, my main challenge is getting the audience in a good mood again after my support act Boothby Graffoe has been on. Sometimes people haven’t finished boo-ing until a few minutes into my act. (Laughs)

You produced a show known as the ‘Iraq Out & Loud’ project at the Edinburgh Fringe, which involved reading the Chilcot report in full, 24 hours a day. How did the idea come about?

I was on the phone to Boothby in July when I said, “we should do a show at next year’s Edinburgh Festival where we just read the Chilcot report 24 hours a day.” He mentioned it to a promoter called Bob Slayer, and rang me back and said, “there's a guy called Bob who's mad enough to do it this year.” So while Bob was building a shed to stage it in, we were contacting all our friends in comedy to read it and kick the idea off. It took 285 hours and 1444 people to read it. I read too. It was a truly one off experience.

You were involved in another project about similar subject matter, as executive producer on the documentary ‘We Are Many’ about the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq. Are you proud of the film?

It’s not a comedy but you could easily say it’s my crowning achievement so far. I’ve worked on the project for the last five years, countless edits, screenings, meetings, discussions… the fact that Universal Pictures bought it, that it’s been so well received and hit number one on iTunes in about ten different countries, you could say I’m very proud of it. A film promoting worldwide public opinion as a ‘Second Superpower’ has got to be doing good.

You’ve been cast in The Nutcracker with Morgan Freeman and Keira Knightley. How is that going to feel filming and then showing up at a theatre to do stand up?

Am I? What are you my agent? News travels fast! (Laughs) You’d think it’d be weird but it has never phased me. Once in Barnet years ago I was late so didn’t change and came straight to the theatre from the set of The Mummy at Shepperton Studios and walked straight on stage in my film costume. I went on stage in full 1930s Egyptian prison warden garb. I even heard a crowd member say “well at least he’s making an effort.”

Away from stand-up, you have an impressive acting CV and have worked with Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Johnny Depp, Mike Myers, Sarah Jessica Parker… Who’s been most fun to work with?

That’s a tough one… (thinks) I’d say, and anyone who’s worked with him as an actor would agree, Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones, was probably the most extraordinary. He played the father of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3’. His character shoots and kills my character for no reason. This seemed to bother him. In fact, he shot me about 14 times and after each take he’d come up to me and say, “listen, you do know I don't mean this?” After every take. It was almost like a joke but it wasn’t. Bang! and he’d shuffle up and say “nothing personal mate, I hope you realise”. Then after another take, with the same sincerity and intensity “it’s all acting. You know that. You’re not upset with me, are you?” Once he shot me and just said “forgive them Lord, they know not what they do”. The final time he shot me he just stood over me and mumbled “we’ve all got issues… it’s all about mummy innit?” How right he was.

:: Omid Djalili, Schmuck for a Night, is at the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, on Tuesday, November 28. Tickets from or 01202 885566.