04 Jan

Chicago’s Comic: Tez Ilyas

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: I honestly had no ambition to be a stand-up comic when I was younger, it was a happy accident of fate. I started by taking a stand-up workshop that I came across accidentally on Google. I’m so happy I took the plunge, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: It was a showcase as part of the stand-up workshop I attended. Everyone’s family and friends were there. It was a very supportive atmosphere and fortunately people laughed in the right places. It gave me the confidence to venture onto the open-mic circuit.

Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?

A: I used to do a lot of shadow-boxing before I went on stage, but not so much anymore. I can happily walk up last minute, take my jacket off and swagger onto stage. But that’s the benefit of experience.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: There are so many great clubs in the UK, it’s really difficult to single out one… At a push, The Comedy Store (London) is incredible, it’s built just right and the crowds that come out there are always up for a laugh.

Q: What shows, podcasts, blogs do you produce or co-produce?

A: I have a stand-up series on BBC Radio 4 called TEZ Talks, that is now available as a podcast from Apple Pods or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: Cornflake tart, Rick & Morty, footslides.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: My ma does a mean toasted mincemeat sandwich. Yum.

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: People think I’m more confident than I am. I project that to hide my insecurities.

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: I was actually a civil servant for 10 years before I quit and started doing stand-up full-time. I guess I would’ve still been doing that. It was a proper career.

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: I would love to have my own sitcom on national television, I’d love a Netflix special or three and I’d love to be the funny sidekick in a hit Hollywood action film.

Q: What quality, trait and/or body part do you really like about yourself?

A: Apparently I have nice eyes? I’m also quite a positive person, the glass is definitely half-full up in here.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, i.e. your education, personal life or mission statement]

A: My mission in comedy is to make people laugh. Anything else is a bonus. I hold up a mirror to society for them to see themselves, but I want them to laugh at my perspective, my narrative first and foremost. I don’t want an interesting show that’s quite funny. I want a hilarious show that was also interesting. That’s the dream.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: When The Rock shouts me on his Insta.


  • 2.21.2019 – 20:15 @ Tez Ilyas: Work in Progress at the Leicester Film Festival (9 Welford Pl.)
  • 4.12-13.2019 @ The Best in Stand Up at The Comedy Store London (Oxedon St.)
  • 5.24-25.2019 @ The Best in Stand Up at The Comedy Store Manchester (Deansgate)


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