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article imageComedian Iliza Shlesinger expertly analyzes female behaviour Special

By David Silverberg     Sep 22, 2014 in Entertainment
Few comedians have so precisely captured the cultural and societal zeitgest of the modern woman as Iliza Shlesinger does regularly on stage. In an interview, she discussed finding her comedic voice, defining what's funny and her upcoming USO Tour.
On stage, Shlesinger is a tornado of energy. She flings herself around the stage during a bit on women who don't wear jackets when they go clubbing for fear of having something to carry. She pantomimes a date gone dry when she aims for a mouth kiss and gets a cheek-peck instead. She riffs on her obsession with Pinterest ("It gives us a chance to plan our delusional fantasies"). Already her trademark calling, she snorts goat-like to mimic how girls talk to each other.
The 31-year-old comedian based in L.A. did all this and much more at her recent Toronto set at The Garrison, part of the Just for Laughs 42 festival. The crowd gladly showed her appreciation for her keen hyper-observational eye on how women socialize and date and eat.
She says on stage: "Girls don't like to eat, especially in front of other girls. It becomes a standoff. 'Are you hungry?' The other girl says, 'No, I'm good, I ate last week.'"
In an interview hours before her set, she says how she has finally found her voice, years after being the first female to win NBC's Last Comic Standing. "I've gone being self-deprecating to focusing on explaining girl behaviour," she notes.
"Men tell me they finally understand their girlfriends better." She pauses. "And women say 'Stop giving away our secrets!'"
Shlesinger, also known for her Netflix special War Paint, said part of being funny is knowing what isn't funny. "I can spot hack comedy a mile away," she says. "I can hear a punchline and think, Oh yeah, I've heard that ages ago." Lazy comedy seems to frustrate her, inspiring her to be far from lackadaisical on stage. One of her most entertaining moments include rattling through a breathless paragraph of bits, as if one gulp, ending with a call-back joke that has the audience hollering in appreciation.
Her recent success also shone brightly this week when it was announced she would be joining an esteemed list of entertainers on the USO Tour overseas. She's joining Jay Leno, Al Roker, The Office's Craig Robinson and musician Kevin Eubanks, but it isn't the first time she's brought comedy to military personnel.
"I love it, but have to be careful of what I talk about, since they have strict rules there on drugs and vulgarity, and there aren't many women out there in the audience."
With all the fame she's enjoyed recently, Shlesinger is quick to point it's far from a glamourous life. "As a stand-up, I tour constantly and live in hotels," she says, "and my spare time here [in Toronto] is spent working on my next Netflix special, interviewing writers for a pilot I'm working on."
Talking with Shlesinger and seeing her perform is like glimpsing a star in the making. She has the confidence and writing ability to soar above the competition in comedy, so rest assured Iliza Shlesinger will be a name you hear many more times, in Hollywood and beyond.
More about iliza shlesinger, Comedy, just for laughs 42, jfl42, Toronto
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