Iliza Shlesinger: ‘I’m thinking what many women are thinking – but saying it out loud’ | Stage – Gündem Haberleri

Iliza Shlesinger: ‘I’m thinking what many women are thinking – but saying it out loud’ | Stage

How did you get into comedy?
I was always into watching funny shows – what was on TV that I could sneakily watch after my mom went to bed. I would put on Comedy Central or MTV, Monty Python reruns, Kids in The Hall, The State, In Living Color, Absolutely Fabulous and, of course, SNL. I would write and film my own sketches and I joined a sketch troupe in college. From there I got the crazy idea that I could just speak, sans ensemble, alone on a stage. So I started doing standup. The rest is a blurry history.

Can you recall a gig so bad, it’s now funny?
I was probably around 24. A country club outside LA requested “all female comics”. When we got there it was a room full of 50 to 60-year-old men, having a party where they had also hired strippers who were dancing and sitting on laps while we told jokes. We were told whoever did the best won $200. At the time, all of my material was about LA traffic and pizza … I didn’t win the money. I’m still sore about it!

Iliza Shlesinger.
‘It basically takes an act of God to get a movie or a TV show made’ … Iliza Shlesinger. Photograph: Avalon/Iliza Shlesinger

Where do you find your material?
The most relatable, juiciest stuff is what’s in all our minds. The craft of comedy comes from realising that what I’m thinking is probably what many people, many women, are thinking and it just takes saying it out loud. I get a lot of material from being honest about my own feelings – my fears and embarrassment. I’m also constantly fascinated by the science, biology and sociology behind why men and women act the way they do. Everything we say when we date, are in relationships and relating to each other is based on a need to feel seen, to survive, to feel heard and I love talking about it.

Best heckle?
I have a joke about how ubiquitous the term “bitch” has become – boss bitch, bad bitch etc. And I posit that women become bitches because of systematic mistreatment and discomfort but no woman wants to be a bitch. No woman wakes up and sets her morning intention to bitch mode. Some guy once yelled out, “You never woke up next to my sister.” And I was like, “Why are you waking up next to your sister?”

Any preshow rituals?
I get to the green room and any sugar around, I will inhale. I start to get excited for the show and it makes me hungry. So I’ll eat a bunch of snacks then check on merch to make sure it’s set up the way I like it. We’ve been doing one-of-a-kind signed polaroids of me and fans love them. So I do those, then I try to remember to drink water … I pee five or six times and then I always walk my feature [support] act to side stage for the start of the show. I call it “walking them to school” but I like to be there when the show starts, to see them take the stage, I think it sets a good energy.

What’s your current show, Hard Feelings, about?
Up top I use my experience going to a bizarre strip club as a lens to examine how little women actually have to do, in reality, to turn men on. It’s a fast-paced, super energetic, poignant and at times whimsical (there is a hybrid gorilla-pitbull character) social commentary on bullshit standards, cancel culture, freedom of speech, plastic surgery, pumpkin spice lattes and my red hot take on Gen Z v millennials.

You’re performing the UK leg of the tour while eight months pregnant. How do you manage the physical demands of touring while expecting?
I was pregnant the last time I toured through Europe so, while I’m bummed to not be able to drink mulled wine at your Christmas markets … I sort of don’t think about it too much. A body in motion stays in motion so I get out into the city, never miss my one allowed cup of coffee, try to target one or two cultural things, eat as many local snacks as I can before the heartburn catches up, do workouts when available and I always allow myself time to rest.

You’ve written books and hosted talkshows. What else would like to try in the future?
What people don’t see are all the projects that fail or are forever in limbo. It basically takes an act of God to get a movie or a TV show made. Like any hard-working artist in entertainment, I’m always writing a screenplay, a pilot, shooting something, pitching something, or meeting with someone. I would like to have a movie or TV show come to fruition in 2024. It would be great to get a series on the air, be able to create a universe and have more than a season with it. All I ever want is for my ideas to see the light of day in a meaningful way.

Iliza Shlesinger: Hard Feelings is at the Eventium Apollo, Hammersmith, on 6 and 8 December

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