Born in Libya to an Irish mum and an Egyptian dad, Baz Ashmawy grew up in Rathfarnham, Dublin. He is best known for his hit TV show 50 Ways to Kill your Mammy, which won the International Emmy for Best Non-Scripted Entertainment in 2015. Baz followed his spiritual journey back to practising Islam for The Lost Muslim on RTÉ. His documentary, All Bets Are Off, looked at gambling and he can be found guest presenting on RTÉ Radio One. He has two daughters, Hanna and Mahy, with his parner Tanja Evans. He is also stepfather to Tanja’s four other kids and lives in Rathmines.
The heat hanging out at the outdoor public pools in Cairo in the summer with my mum and dad. Splashing around with all my cousins. Nice memories. Fun.
What was the first book you loved?
It was a Mr Men book and then I devoured the fantasy adventure game books of the 1980s, like The Forest of Doom. I loved them.
What’s your best holiday memory?
Being in Killarney, Co Kerry, with my mum and gran and riding in a horse and cart.
What is your biggest fear?
Letting my family down.
What are you most proud of?
My family. There’s eight of us so when we all arrive into a restaurant or a party we look like rent-a-crowd and secretly I love it. I’m very proud of all of them individually. I might be biased but honestly, they’re pretty cool.
What’s your least attractive quality – and what is your most?
I’m very, very selfish because if I’m not happy, I can’t make anyone else happy. I don’t rely on anyone for my happiness. My best quality is I’m honest and I’ve great thumbs.
What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?
Legalise medical marijuana for people who are genuinely sick and need it.
What’s your biggest insecurity?
I don’t really have any. Maybe self-doubt, but you wouldn’t be human without it and it’s what drives us to do what’s uncomfortable.
Who’d you most like to go for a pint with?
Right now, I’ve been in lockdown since March, so my mates.
What fictional character do you most identify with?
What is your most treasured possession?
The family Tanja gave me. And yes, I own them.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
The cinema on my own or sneaker shopping on my own. It’s a tie.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Treasure failure, it’s the only way to succeed.
What item in your wardrobe do you wear the most?
Adidas tracksuit bottoms.
Who are your heroes?
My mum. Sounds so corny but she’s awesome. I strive to be like her. It’s her level of self-contentment. She really knows who she is and she likes herself. If you have that, you’re sailing through this life.
When did you last cry?
Someone I care about was sick. I cried in my car on my own. I cry during sad movies or clips online. I’m an emotional person. I don’t see tears as weakness, it’s just an emotion that needs to be released.
How are you coping with the current lockdown situation?
It’s very up and down. It’s not even like good days, bad days. It’s like good hours, bad hours. I’ve tried to accept it and not expect too much out of myself and the people around me during it because the limbo can make you feel low. I just try to keep my house and myself content and use it as time to do some self-reflection and learn to cook.
What are you going to do right after this interview?
Make my kids lunch.
What keeps you awake at night?
My dog, usually.
What’s your greatest passion in life?
Human connection and laughter.
If you had to choose three adjectives to describe yourself, which would they be?
Childish, loyal and mad.
What’s your favourite film?
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. It’s just my childhood. It’s 100pc nostalgia. I prefer many other movies but I don’t think I love one more.
What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
Currently, it’s the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, on Netflix. Two episodes come out per week and I’m addicted.
What one piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Buy shares in Zoom.
What do you regret not doing in the last year?
Not finishing my stage show, Family Matters. It wasn’t my fault. Because of Covid-19, we had to cancel half-way through the run and I was really enjoying it. I’m gutted – but I’ll do it again when I can.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
What does your dream weekend look like?
Sunny with lots of food, friends and family.
What job would you be terrible at?
Air traffic control. I’m easily distracted.
Do you believe in a God?
I believe in all living things. I believe in energy and in love and that we can’t explain everything and that that’s okay.
A second series of Baz Ashmawy’s ‘Wingman’ is returning to RTÉ. Apply to take part at firstname.lastname@example.org