Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Iliza Shlesinger talks finding the funny in relatable experiences, comedic voices, in new ‘Hard Feelings’ standup tour

Courtesy of Iliza Shlesinger

Award-winning comedian, actor, writer, producer and author Iliza Shlesinger sells out theaters around the world with her blend of hilarious observations about life and relationships, memorable characters and no-BS attitude.

Ahead of her Sept. 15 show at Bass Concert Hall, The Daily Texan spoke to Shlesinger about her new “Hard Feelings” tour and her comedic style, which she describes as witty, whimsical and high-speed.

The Daily Texan: What’s your earliest memory of realizing you’re funny or that you want to make people laugh?

Iliza Shlesinger: My mom had a pair of … Groucho Marx glasses that came with the big nose and mustache and they were a comedy staple forever. My mom pointed at them and she said to me, “Funny,” — this is what ‘funny’ is. … We went to a doctor’s appointment and the doctor had dark-rimmed glasses and a big nose and mustache and I looked at him and I pointed and I said, “Funny.”

DT: A lot of your standup hones in on specific experiences and feelings that women can connect to. How do you find the experiences that are genuinely going to be relatable and connect to a lot of people?

IS: A big part of doing standup is realizing that the thought you have should be said out loud. … If I’m feeling it, it’s worth sharing because other women probably feel this way. And if I feel bad about it, it’s definitely worth sharing because we historically have not been given license to unabashedly express how we’re feeling with impunity.

DT: How did you find your character voices, like the party goblin voice?

IS: They’re just in me. Everybody contains multitudes, and in my case, I contain multitudes of tiny characters. I am an expressive person and I grew up watching sketch comedy so every situation has a character, has an archetype, and those have voices that come out in a way (like) a dancer produces movement. … It’s almost like being possessed in a very fun way.

DT: What are the big ideas of your “Hard Feelings” tour and what’s different from your other specials?

IS: It’s less about (it being) different and it’s (a) more pure, distilled essence of my act. It’s energetic, there’s a lot of movement. I dissect a lot of female behavior as it pertains to why we do the things we do and what men actually care about. I also dissect modern nomenclature — God, this is starting to sound like a UT lecture — and I give a lot of love to the elder millennials in the crowd because we’re not done being young and the Internet makes us feel old.

DT: Besides standup, you’ve done films, a sketch show, a talk show, podcasts, books. Why have you explored so many mediums and what’s left that you still want to do?

IS: You explore them because hopefully you’re good enough at them that they pay. … Because of the way modern media is, there’s so many ways to express yourself. Each one’s a different muscle and I’m constantly working at them. I’d like to keep doing those things but bigger and better. … Getting to create my own arena and my own art, on my own scale, on my own terms is always the goal, always has been. It would also be great to be a Marvel superhero.

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