Edinburgh Fringe: Tez Ilyas interview

Last year, Tez Ilyas experienced something that turned his world upside down. In this hotly-anticipated follow-up to his 2015 smash hit debut, TEZ Talks, this smart and subversive rising star is back with another bold and deeply personal show. AAA caught up with Tez for a chat earlier in the week.

How has your Fringe been so far?

Positively delightful. Seen a lot of friends I haven’t seen for a while. Already caught a couple of good shows and am really looking forward to the Mosque Kitchen later today. Maybe I’ll throw some shapes later in the night. Watch this space…

Tell us about the show you’re in…

The show written by me is about the personal experiences of someone a lot of audiences will not have come across every day and so will give a chance for my Tezbians to get to know who I am, my background, what makes me tick and there’s also one or two pretty big revelations that should hopefully leave people open-mouthed. All interspersed with lots of lols.

What’s the audience reaction been like?

Lovely. So lots more of that pretty please.

When did you realise you were funny?

I was the class clown in school as well as the office clown. My teachers were always frustrated with my because I was mega disruptive but also one of the smartest kids in the school – they didn’t know what to do with me a lot of time. I spent one week in the headmaster’s office doing class work.

Can comedians get away with saying things no one else can?

Absolutely. It’s a joke. No one should really take a comedian seriously, but it does put us in a unique position to say things slight left (or right) of what is acceptable and let me tell you, I take full advantage of that!

Was there a comedian who inspired you?

Oh… Lots, but I’m particularly inspired by writers too, in particular Armando Iannuci, Chris Morris, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Absolutely class acts.

 Are there any other shows on this year’s Fringe you’d recommend?

Oh lots… Johnny Cochrane, Sophie Willan, Kate Lucas, Aatif Nawaz, Bilal Zafar, Gary Tro, Richard Todd, Sunil Patel, Harriet Kemsley, Jamali Maddix, Nish Kumar and Lolly.

What’s on your hit-list to see?

All of the above shows and James Acaster and Spencer Jones who don’t need my recommendation.

What do you like to do in Edinburgh on your day off?

I’ll go to the pictures, watch a couple of shows

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

Kismot is the best Indian I’ve had in Edinburgh and I really like just hanging in the Pleasance Courtyard as I bump into so many friends.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen this year?

I saw a pigeon attack a young lad, he was terrified. I laughed.

Sell your show in no more than ten words….

Come and see my show if you’re not a racist.

Tez Ilyas: Made in Britain, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 5.30pm, until 28 Aug, www.edfringe.com

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