Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Tez Ilyas: Tez Talks

By | Published on Thursday 28 January 2016


Up and coming comedian Tez Ilyas charmed the Edinburgh Festival comedy goers in the summer with his show, ‘Tez Talks’, which draws on his experiences as a British Muslim. Given all the praise I’ve heard for this set, I think it’s safe to say it will be worth seeing.
To find out more about the show, I put a few quick questions to Tez, ahead of his upcoming run at the Soho Theatre.

CM: What’s the show about? Do you address a particular theme or topics in it?
TI: The show is a very satirical take on the current narrative around Muslims and Islam in Britain. It takes the audience on a journey where they’re forced to empathise with British Muslims.

CM: How would you describe your style of comedy, or performance?
TI: I’ve been described as silly, smart and subversive, which I was very happy with.

CM: When you discuss your cultural/religious background, is it with the intention to educate and inform? Or are you just trying to be funny…?
TI: I’m just trying to be funny, if the audience get something more out of it, then great.

CM: You had a successful time with the show up in Edinburgh in the summer. How did you like the festival? Will you go back?
TI: The Festival is great. I love Edinburgh it’s such a beautiful city, and the Festival is such a wonderful experience. It’s like a four-week long freshers week for performers.

CM: Has the show changed much since the summer performances?
TI: Not very much. It’s probably 95% the same show.

CM: What made you want to do stand-up? Did you always want to be a performer?
TI: I have no background in the performing arts, in fact, I haven’t done drama since I was fourteen. I got into comedy by accident when googling a creative writing course, but I’m so glad it happened.

CM: How did you get into comedy? Where did it all begin?
TI: I did a short stand-up workshop which gave me some tools to get started. I did my first gig in the summer of 2010 in the upstairs of a pub in Piccadilly Circus, a lot of friends were there to support, it was so cringey.

CM: Do you think you will stick with stand-up, or is there other stuff you want to do?
TI: I definitely plan to keep doing stand-up, but I am also exploring other opportunities on radio and TV which are exciting.

CM: What’s next for you, short-term and long term?
TI: Well I’m really looking forward to the Soho shows, but I also have a couple of TV things coming out next month, and then I’m taking a brand new show to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

Tez Ilyas performs ‘Tez Talks’ at Soho Theatre from 3-6 Feb. See this page here for for more info and to book.

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Photo: Steve Ullathorne