As the debates for and against Britain's membership of the European Union heat up the concept of whether unity equals strength is at the forefront of our minds.

It is an idea comedian Omid Djalili has been grappling with for months, as he tries to come to come to terms with events such as the extremist attacks in Paris and Tunisia and the emergence of Isis.

Rather than cowering, crying or fighting, he says it is more important than ever that we are able to laugh at terrorists.

"I think the news of the last six months has seen the earth axis somehow changing, " explains the Gladiator and Oliver! star.

"I feel whenever there’s a real threat of terrorists that's when you have to get up and make fun of them, to remove the fear in society."

He felt this so strongly that he has put other projects on hold to go back out on tour with his new show simply titled Live 2016.

"People are upset with me because I’m supposed to be doing other television series but I thought ‘I don’t care’.

"I have never felt it would be more relevant to be a stand up than right now. We’re meant to comment on things going on in the world and I think if I don’t go out now it’s remiss."

Anger, fear, sadness and confusion, the 50-year-old says he has felt them all and is just as bewildered as the rest of us about what is happening and is trying to untangle things the only way he knows how.

"How did we get to point where people on beaches and in cafes are targets? And who is funding these people and what are they trying to gain? It’s so confusing and I’m trying to make sense of it. I’m asking the questions and I will try and give a few answers."

He adds: "I’m trying to make sense of it through the medium of comedy so please come along and watch me struggle with it. I’m trying to open up a discourse about all the things that are going on it the world. This is my contribution."

Born in Chelsea, to Iranian Bahá'í parents, religion, race,culture and stereotypes have always featured heavily in Omid's comedy. His first successful Edinburgh shows were Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son in 1995 and The Arab and the Jew in 1996 and he starred in David Badiel's film The Infidel in 2010.

He was also executive producer of the acclaimed documentary We Are Many, about the global anti-war demonstrations in 2003, and says his background means people look to him for answers.

"Britain and America and the West are very much at war with certain aspects of the Middle East and here is me, a middle easterner who was raised here who is kind of on Britain’s side but I have maintained my Iranian culture. It’s a unique perspective and I’m trying to use that as a reasonable go-between to make sense of things."

His conclusion?

"The main problem is a lack of unity in the world. We are becoming more diverse but less unified. I truly believe we can have both.

"That is the big discourse social groups are having around the world: how can we have a united vision of what mankind is but maintain our diversity?"

For Omid the path to this goal is littered with questions such as: "Why do they need to behead people in the street? Are we basically animals? Or are we like a child growing up and still in mankind’s turbulent adolescence?"

The West Londoner admits this all sounds rather serious but he assures me he is still out to uplift audiences by making them laugh.

"We've called the tour Live 2016 but I’m actually going to call it ‘Schmuck for a Night’," says the Chelsea fan. "I’m a good guy but I will be the schmuck for the night for everyone, so people can come and laugh at me for 90 minutes."

Omid will perform at Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Barr on April 2 and Millfield Theatre in Edmonton on May 4 and 5. Details: