Tez Ilyas

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Tez Ilyas
Birth nameMohammed Tehzeeb Ilyas[1]
Born (1983-04-08) 8 April 1983 (age 39)
Blackburn, Lancashire, England[1]
Years active2010–present
GenresObservational humour, Satire
Subject(s)Islamic humour, Islamophobia, Islam in the United Kingdom, Social integration

Tehzeeb "Tez" Ilyas (Urdu: تہزیب الیاس; born 8 April 1983) is a British Pakistani stand-up comedian. He currently presents a satirical comedy show that mixes sketches and current affairs, called The Tez O'Clock Show on Channel 4.

Early life[edit]

Ilyas was born and brought up in Blackburn, Lancashire, England[2] and is a British Pakistani. [3]

He started his career as a civil servant, after studying biochemistry at Lancaster University where he also completed a master's degree.[3] He then got a graduate job in the civil service in London.

Comedy career[edit]

Ilyas fell into comedy after googling online writing courses and completing a week long open mic workshop,[3] before becoming a comedian in 2010.

In June 2015, Ilyas made a short film The Fast and the Fool as part of the British Muslim Comedy series, five short films by Muslim comedians commissioned by the BBC to be released on BBC iPlayer.[4][5] Ilyas goes through the day in the life of a fasting Muslim, and shows how he copes with the stresses and strains of an ordinary day in the office during Ramadan.[5]

In July 2015, Ilyas performed at an Eid Special Comedy Night at The Comedy Store in London.[6][7] In December of the same year, he performed at BBC Asian Network's special comedy night, celebrating 50 years of Asian programmes on the BBC with a special comedy night in Birmingham.[8]

Ilyas has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe four times. In 2011, he was in a three-hander with Gary Tro and Kate Lucas called Gags Songs and Bombs. In 2013, he was on the comedy reserve in the Pleasance Dome. In 2014, he performed for a week.[9]

Ilyas' debut show TEZ Talks[10] resembles TED Talks, the popular conference lecture series[11] Ilyas' show is inspired by his life as a British Muslim[3] and deals with numerous misconceptions about Islam.[11] His show is staged as an introductory seminar in becoming a convert to Islam with the audience playing the part of potential new recruits. This enables Ilyas to explain the intricacies of his belief system, while dealing with misconceptions arising from prejudice.[12] He gives a series of mock-inspirational speeches on integrating into British society,[3] and explains concepts like jihad and Ramadan with 'unpatronising good humour', explores "British values" and debunks Islamophobic abuse.[10] In August 2015, Ilyas performed the show at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[3] In February 2016, he performed the show at London's Soho Theatre.[13]

A BBC Radio 4 series based on Tez Talks was commissioned, and has run for three series. Ilyas was awarded a place on the BBC's writers academy and has written and filmed his own scripted comedy short for Sky. He has appeared on both The Now Show and the Children in Need Comedy Gala for BBC Radio 4, and appeared on both Virtually Famous on E4 and Live From the BBC on BBC Three.[13]

He has appeared as recurring character 'Eight' on BBC Three comedy series Man Like Mobeen, alongside comedian and actor Guz Khan.[14]

In December 2018, Ilyas featured in comedy short Bounty, a 'Comedy Blap' by Channel 4, which was set in his hometown of Blackburn.[15]

In January 2019, it was announced that Ilyas would host a new satirical comedy show on Channel 4, The Tez O'Clock Show, broadcast from the dock10 studios.[16][17]

In June 2020, he released a special, Teztify, on YouTube.

In April 2021 Tez published his book 'The Secret Diary of a British Muslim aged 13 3/4' [18]


In November 2019, Ilyas was chosen to take over the Instagram of Jeremy Corbyn[19] during the Labour party leader's debate with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2011, Ilyas reached the final of the BBC Radio New Comedy Awards.[20] In 2013, Ilyas was a finalist for Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year[3][21] and won The Pleasance showcase The Comedy Reserve.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 2020, Tez Ilyas left his voluntary position on the comedy industry body, the Live Comedy Association, after admitting to 'unacceptable behaviour', and wrote an apology on his Twitter account. [22]

Ilyas is a Muslim[10][11] and is based in Clapham, London.[2] He is a Blackburn Rovers Football Club fan.[23]

Ilyas cites television shows such as South Park, The Thick of It and Blackadder, but most importantly the dry humour of the people of his home town Blackburn and his father, as inspiring him most.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Lydia (31 January 2016). "Tez Ilyas Interview". Laugh Out London comedy club. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pullen, Tess (27 July 2015). "Edinburgh Fringe 2015: An interview with Tez Ilyas". Nouse. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  4. ^ "BBC iPlayer - British Muslim Comedy - Tez Ilyas: The Fast and the Fool". BBC iPlayer. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b Badat, Hafeeza (19 June 2015). "British Muslim Comedy Takes Over BBC iPlayer". Asian Image. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  6. ^ "HaLOL: can the UK have a laugh about Islam?". New Statesman. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ Rahim, Sameer (21 July 2011). "HaLOL Comedy Night, Comedy Store, review: 'challenging'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Special comedy night to feature Tez Ilyas, Guz Khan, Shaista Aziz and Aditi Mittal". Asian Image. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  9. ^ "INTERVIEW: Tez Ilyas, Tez Talks". FreshAir.org.uk. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Jones, Alice (26 August 2015). "Tez Ilyas, Edinburgh Fringe review: a witty exploration of what it means to be a British Muslim". The Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Hawkins, Si (24 August 2015). "Tez Ilyas' TEZ Talks will make you think – and laugh". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  12. ^ Porteous, Lewis (14 August 2015). "Tez Ilyas: Tez Talks". Fest Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  13. ^ a b Clark, James (28 January 2016). "Fringe: Tez Ilyas interview". TNT. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  14. ^ Franks, Richard (10 February 2019). "TV review: Man Like Mobeen series two is the comedy Britain needs right now". Counteract - Birmingham's online music + culture magazine. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Watch: Tez Ilyas in new Blackburn based comedy 'Bounty'". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Blackburn comic Tez Ilyas to front new satirical show on Channel 4". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Blackburn comic Tez Ilyas to front new satirical show on Channel 4". Asian Image. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Comedian Tez Ilyas writes book about life growing up in 90s Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  19. ^ Twitter https://twitter.com/tezilyas/status/1196836729002573827. Retrieved 1 July 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Blackburn comic Tez through to semi-finals". Lancashire Telegraph. Lancashire. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Tez Ilyas". Chortle. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  22. ^ 5Pillars (30 June 2020). "Tez Ilyas admits 'unacceptable behaviour' towards women". 5Pillars. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Tez Ilyas: Edinburgh Fringe 2015 interview". Laugh Out London comedy club. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.

External links[edit]