Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot

By | Published on Thursday 13 August 2015

US comedian Iliza Shlesinger, the youngest and only female act to have won one of NBC talent show ‘Last Comic Standing’s nine seasons, heads to Soho Theatre next week to make her London stand up debut, and it promises to be pretty fiery. But, um, chilly. Well, the show is called ‘Freezing Hot’.


I sent some questions over to Iliza, to find out more about this show, why she’s in London, and why she chose this kind of career.

CM: Tell us about Freezing Hot – does the show have a theme at all? What sort of subjects will you be joking about…?
IL: ‘Freezing Hot’, the title in and of itself, is a commentary on the contradictions that happen in a woman’s brain – how we never quite know what we want and how we sort of put that on whoever we are with. It’s a look into the mind of a girl in the most relatable yet self-effacing way. Basically it’s me cracking open my head and showing all girls that we have the exact same thoughts – from loving fall and Pinterest to reluctantly dressing up for a date – guys love the act because they leave feeling they understand how crazy the women in their lives are. And there’s also #PartyGoblin, and anyone who drinks knows about that…

CM: Why have you decided to bring the show to London? Is it part of a larger tour?
IL: When they told me I could do London for two weeks, I jumped at the chance. I know I have fans in London, and I think bringing my act to other countries helps my act grow. More importantly, it helps me be a more well-rounded as an artist, and I love to travel. The ‘Freezing Hot’ tour is an ongoing thing, so yeah, London is one stop on a whirlwind.

CM: Have you spent much time in London before? Do you have any plans (other than performing, obviously) for your time here?
IL: My best friend attended LSE and I visited her once when I was 24, we spent the whole time drinking so aside from a few landmarks I didn’t see much but my pillow. Looking forward to being an adult and taking in some real culture this time. And partying.

CM: Going back to the beginning, what made you decide you wanted this kind of career? Did you always want to do stand up?
IL: I always knew I was funny and so I always knew all paths would lead to me being funny for a living and I never questioned it or thought to do anything else; I never studied the art form growing up and the path wasn’t so much stand-up but more just comedy which came naturally to me.

CM: When did you first begin performing? Were you a precocious child?
IL: I was always performing for friends; anyone who is funny knows what I’m talking about. I did theatre and improv and sketch growing up and I have always loved and needed to make people laugh; at school the curriculum or lesson always fell by the wayside and getting that laugh was my priority.

CM: Who or what would you say your comedy influences are? As a comedian, do you ever have an agenda, political, for example…?
IL: My agenda is to share my thoughts in the most honest way possible. I want girls to not think they’re alone and, more importantly, I want girls to know that how they think and feel and act is okay. So many female comics are about shock, everything is crass and about being drunk and sleeping with everyone and not caring, and I like to think I have more heart on stage than that. Anything that comes out of my mouth is a real story or a real feeling; I am who I am and I’m showing girls I’m comfortable with that, I want them to be with me too. I want them to know I understand them. I also think it’s important to never bash men- this isn’t a battle of the sexes- this is about digging deep and really questioning why we do what we do.

CM: You won the sixth season of NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing’ in 2008. What was it like, being a contestant in that? Just how much of a difference do you think it made to the progression of your career?
IL: I was 26 and had been doing comedy 3 years when I won, so it sort of kick-started my career as I became a head-liner overnight.

CM: You’ve done lots of stand up on TV and some presenting work, but you clearly still have a drive for live performance. How do the two compare? Which do you prefer?
IL: I prefer stand up. Hosting is a job and stand up is a career. Hosting is easy for me because it uses a lot of the same muscles stand up does- memorization, improv and relatability… Is that a muscle?

CM: What’s next for you? What else do you have coming up…?
IL: I’m going to do another comedy special in the New Year and we have some great projects coming out that I can’t write about until they are finished… @iliza

Iliza performs ‘Freezing Hot’ at Soho Theatre from 17 – 29 August at Soho Theatre. More info and tickets from this page here.

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