SHAFAQNA – A Muslim comedy fan, who started performing standup just two years ago, has become a finalist for three different British comedy awards. Jay Islaam, a 34-year old marketing manager from Cambridgeshire, is up for “Best Comedian” prizes in Birmingham, London and Bristol over the next three months.
Jay’s comedy covers many different subjects, with his unrelenting wanderlust and his Punjabi family, as well as his autism, being a rich source of material. His acerbic social satire targets the likes of Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins, Richard Dawkins and Bollywood culture.
The first award he’ll be fighting for is the annual New Comedian prize, at Moseley Comedy Festival, taking place on Friday 5th February 2016. A week later he competes for the “Untapped Comedy Award” in London. And, in April, he’s up for the “Comedy Gladiator of the Year” prize in Bristol.
A lifelong fan of stand-up, Jay was finally inspired to try it himself after watching live comedy in New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood when he lived out in the USA for a year in 2011. He’s been performing stand-up for the last two years, and regularly practices new material at open mic shows across the United Kingdom. His dream is to one day perform at the world-famous “Comedy Store” in Hollywood, where so many of his comedy heroes have graced the stage.
Jay Islaam commented: “A few years ago, while I was living in America for work, I was lucky enough to watch some hilarious, talented and quite famous comedians plying their trade in the comedy clubs of New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood. It inspired me to try my hand at stand-up myself. But it took a few years of procrastination before I built up the courage to get up on stage myself.
“I’ve worked hard these last couple of years, writing new material and performing at comedy clubs up and down the country. Luckily, I’ve been invited to perform at some of the biggest and best venues in England and Scotland, sometimes facing audiences upwards of 500 people. I’m now also the resident host of a weekly comedy night at the Mockingbird Theatre in Birmingham.
“Being a finalist in three different comedy awards has come as a huge surprise. Stand-up comedy is a very competitive field, and can be a lonely and tiring job, so this kind of recognition gives you a much needed boost of self-confidence.“
Rudi Lickwood, organizer of the “Untapped Comedy Award” described Jay Islaam as “a classic talent” and explained that his awards “highlight the untapped comedy talent that the mainstream media fails to represent. Having been in the industry in excess of 30 years I have come across the glass ceiling. Jay provides a unique understanding of modern Britain from a satirical perspective that is clearly missing across the BBC media platforms and I am all for encouraging such talent to develop and grow.”
Jay Islaam will be performing his debut solo show, titled “Travels With Autism”, at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival this month. Further information can be found by visiting www.jayislaam.com