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SHAPPI KHORSANDI: HOW I WAS RAISED

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The stand-up comedian on the Muppet Show, John Travolta + cycling in Tehran

Shappi Khorsandi is a stand-up comedian who was born in Iran and raised in west London. She is currently president of the British Humanist Association, and has a coming-of-age novel out called Nina Is Not Ok.

My childhood was chaotic, spontaneous and warm.

My name means butterfly in Persian. I don’t know why it was picked – that’s a question for my mother.

I was breastfed.

My parents didn’t do sleep training with me. Babies sleep when they sleep.

Apparently my brother and I once decorated the bathroom with what we made in our potties. That would sell for millions these days.

My earliest memory is riding on a bicycle in Tehran, on my uncle’s lap at dawn, to get chocolate milk.

Apart from biscuits, my early passion was The Muppet Show. I’d listen for hours on the audio cassette. Another early passion was dogs, I read everything about them.

My favourite first books were Andy Pandy and The Snowman.

My favourite toy was an inflatable robot. It was about my size and you stuffed it into mechanical feet and it wandered around, and I used to cuddle him, pretending he was John Travolta.

My first memory of school is not being able to speak English, and making up sounds thinking I was speaking English.

My parents were not strict at all.

I remember my seventh birthday quite clearly. Had a party and everything, my hair looked great.

:: Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi is published by Ebury on July 28, priced £12.99

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