Omid Djalili is not just the guy from those TV commercials. A Chelsea-born Brit of Iranian descent, Djalili first made his mark in 1995 with his Edinburgh Fringe show, 'Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son', followed by 1996's 'The Arab and the Jew'. As those titles subtly suggest, Djalili has never been a shrinking violet when it comes to matters of race and religion.
Omid Djalili is clearly proud of his Iranian Bahá'í heritage but has succeeded in keeping it from becoming his USP. In fact, 'that guy from those ads' has been incredibly successful on a range of fronts. His stand-up career continues to be wildly popular and, in 2005, he set a box office record for his Edinburgh show. He has hosted Have I Got News For You? and been Top Gear's 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car'; each appearance a badge of honour for UK comics.
He has carved out a successful acting career with roles in top movies such as Gladiator, The Mummy and Notting Hill. He has also appeared in less-top films Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Sex and the City 2 (although Djalili was good in both) and, in 2009, he was cast as Fagin in the West End production of Oliver!.
Omid Djalili cannot help but make people laugh and as his first tour for three years - Tour of Duty - kicks off in the autumn, punters will get 40-plus chances to see a very modern comic do what he does best. There are two pre-tour dates scheduled for 19th September in Morecambe and 5th October in Worcester.
The tour itself begins in Shrewsbury on 14th October 2011, closing with two dates at the Hammersmith Apollo on 24th and 25th February. In-between, the tour covers much of the UK including shows in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff, Bristol, Norwich, Derby and two dates in St Albans, where he is clearly very popular.
Tickets are on sale now, starting at around £20 (£26.50 for London).
You can also catch Omid in Walpole Park on 15th July when he opens the Ealing Comedy in the Park (supported by Hal Cruttenden, Andrew Lawrence, Sol Bernstein, Mark Maier and Mickey Hutton as MC). Tickets cost £17.50.