Stand-up star Tez Ilyas is using his time in the spotlight to talk about what it really means to be British.
The Blackburn-born comic is an Asian Muslim and has struggled to reconcile his heritage with being British.
This didn’t stop sales of his tour however, with Made in Britain selling out every showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Now the show is coming to Manchester and Tez found time to talk to us about growing up as a British-Pakistani, getting into comedy and the way he hopes he can inspire others.
“The show is about how being British means different things to different people,” Tez told MM.
“Just because one person isn’t leading a stereotypical British life doesn’t mean they’re not British.”
He hopes people can watch his show and understand that there’s nothing wrong with being a bit different, especially if you have a laugh along the way.
“If I can be a role model to anyone and they can look up and think that I come from a similar working class background or a similar skin colour or religion then I think that’s a positive thing.
“It is such a mess out there sometimes and if someone can look up to someone similar and see what they’ve done then maybe they’ll see that it’s not all that bad out there.”
The message seems to be more and more important in a modern society that can often feel culturally divided.
— Tez (@tezilyas) March 25, 2017
Tez told us that he tries to address divisive issues in his show by framing them against his own experiences so far.
He said: “I talk about what these things mean to someone who’s grown up in Britain in the last 20 years and what all these recent events mean for us.”
It isn’t all serious though and Tez says he hopes for “lots of laughs” when he visits the Frog and Bucket this Sunday.
His original show Tez Talks was a play on the popular TED talks, where speakers will try and spread information about a specific area or subject.
The show involved the audience being taken through life as a Muslim in Britain whilst poking fun at the more ridiculous, and often bigoted, sides of both cultures.
The show was picked up by BBC Radio 4 who commissioned a pilot to be made and written by Tez.
Made in Britain, Tez’s current tour, kicked off with four nights at the Soho theatre in London and will visit Manchester on April 9 and his home town of Blackburn on the 23rd.
Tickets can be found through http://tezilyas.com/