Even when jet-lagged and suffering from a nasty cough, Shappi Khorsandi is still amusing.

The conversation does, however, veer off into slightly odd areas, such as the danger to pets of urban foxes and cooking while pregnant.

The comedian has just returned from touring Australia and can’t shake off a cold.

“I’ve had this cough for three weeks,” she sighs.

“I tried to get an appointment with my doctor, but they could only offer me one in a fortnight.

“I said ‘I might be dead then’ and flounced out.”

Let’s hope not, as Midland audiences would miss out on seeing her new show on tour.

In it she talks about being a single mum to two children and bringing up her latest baby with no contact with her father.

Iranian-born Shappi, 40, has a six-year-old son, Cassius, with comedian Christian Reilly. They divorced in 2011 after six years of marriage.

Last June she gave birth to daughter Genevieve, or Vivi for short, after a short-lived relationship with a man she’d rather not name.

Shappi says: “I’m doing it all on my own, I have no contact with the father. But that’s fine, I’m not angry or bitter about it.

“The whole experience with my daughter and her dad has taught me that sometimes you are just not in someone else’s shoes. You just have to understand that you don’t understand them.

“Someone you go out with and have a wonderful time with isn’t a bad person because they don’t want to see their daughter. You can’t understand what’s going on with them.

“I can’t take any more time out for pain, after going through a divorce where there was so much pain.

“I have no time to dwell on it, I’m a single mum and I have to earn a living.

“I didn’t take any time off after she was born, I went straight back to work after my Caesarean.

“Though when I say ‘work’, it’s not like it’s down a mine. Despite what Gwyneth Paltrow says about showbiz being harder than a normal job, it really isn’t like having a nine to five office job. You can manage your schedules to spend time at home.

“The industry is so male dominated, I felt I had to get back out there as soon as possible so people wouldn’t write me off. But I don’t have to work every night, just once or twice a week.

“I don’t have as many tour dates as other comedians because I have to balance it with looking after two children. I used to do big tours and take my son with me, but I’m not allowed to take him out of school in term time now.

“I didn’t go to the Edinburgh Festival, instead I started to write my show.

“My new show is my favourite one so far. A lot of it is about being a single mum, and about being 40 and having friendships which have endured.”

Shappi Khorsandi
Shappi Khorsandi
 

And talking of being in a male-dominated industry, what does Shappi think of the recent announcement by BBC chief Danny Cohen that there would be no more all-male comedy panel shows?

“It’s a sensible and sane decision, but why couldn’t they just quietly implement it?” she says.

“Why did they have to announce it? Now it will look like every woman there is a token woman.

“It’s hard enough being a woman in comedy, something I talk about in my show. I wish sexism was taken as seriously as racism.

“I haven’t noticed any more offers to go on TV shows, but then I consider my job is live stand-up.

“Comics need panel shows because they get us known and get people to come to the live shows, which is what it’s all about. To be frank, they are a means to an end.

“I’ve heard women complain that the men on TV panel shows are very competitive and it’s hard for them to be heard, but I’ve never experienced that. I thoroughly enjoyed doing Have I Got News For You.

“Radio panel shows are a joy, you can’t interrupt people because it’s simply bad radio if you talk over each other.”

Shappi’s other TV appearances have included Celebrity MasterChef, which she appeared on last year in the early stages of her pregnancy.

“I was really sad that I didn’t look as pregnant as I felt. That would justify the fact I was so dippy and concentrated far more on eating everyone else’s dishes than making my own.

“The day I got booted out, I came home and put together a three-tiered rabbit hutch. Unfortunately the foxes got him.

“I will never get an outdoor pet again, there are too many urban foxes about and they are getting so bold. I dare not keep the doors open.”

So are there any other reality shows she would like to take part in?

“I’d love to do Strictly Come Dancing, I want everyone to know that,” she says, excitedly.

“I’d like to be asked while I can still move my limbs.

“I’m not interested in any other reality shows, I can’t bear the ones where you have to be nasty about people.

“Do you know, I think we’ve reached a tipping point in being cruel. I used to get inundated by internet trolls leaving lots of nasty comments whenever I was on telly, but I think people are beginning to understand that we can’t do that now. Though maybe that’s because of the court cases making examples of people.

“I hardly ever get slagged off now. I told my dad and he said ‘Your career can’t be going well then’.

“I used to get really horrible comments, but you have to be sane about it and not let it worry you too much. You have to remind yourself that happy people don’t slag people off.”

* Shappi Khorsandi plays Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton (0870 320 7000) on May 9, Leamington Royal Spa Centre (01926 334 418) on May 24 and the Stratford-upon-Avon Comedy Hullabaloo (0844 800 1110) on May 25.