Recognition for new Asian comedy talent.
A local comedian and radio presenter has been nominated for one of the major awards at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, for a heart-warming and humorous show about Autism. Jay Islaam, who presents the Friday drivetime show on Birmingham station Switch Radio, is one of three finalists for the prestigious Asian Arts Award for Comedy, which is given out annually at the world’s largest arts festival.
The multi-award-winning comic, who hails from Washwood Heath, is no stranger to accolades. Most recently, he was crowned New Act of the Year at Moseley Comedy Festival, and has won more comedy competitions than any other act in the country.
His debut solo show, titled Travels with Autism, is a very raw and personal piece about his own private struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome, and addresses many of the misconceptions that exist about Autism Spectrum Disorder in what he describes as “a TED Talk with jokes”.
Responding to the news, Islaam commented: “I’m humbled and truly honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious comedy prize. Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s biggest and most respected arts festival. There are literally thousands of shows here, so only a tiny fraction of performers get nominated for any of the major awards. Travels with Autism is my debut solo show, and being a contender for a major trophy is astonishing.”
He continued: “The public response has been wonderful and several hundred people have come to see me perform. What’s particularly heartening for me is the positive reaction the show has received from people with Autism and those who have Autistic friends and family. Many of whom have told me how happy they are to see comedy being used to help educate people about ASD and to dispel the many myths and misunderstandings that exist about neurodiversity.”