Uproariously funny comedian, Iliza Shlesinger, is back on Netflix with her latest comedy special, “Confirmed Kills,” covering everything from the black hole of a woman’s purse to finally putting an end to our obsession with mermaids. This time around, however, the 33-year-old star is more than funny voices and side-splitting humor. Schlesinger aims to use her platform as a means of driving meaningful conversations with her audience, too. She chatted with us from her home in Los Angeles about her career beginnings and using comedy to help women.
When did you decide you wanted to do comedy professionally?
I always knew I was going to be funny for a living. Growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, I didn’t have access to comedy clubs, but I think I just got it where I could. I’d take in a lot of TV, a lot of sitcoms, a lot of sketch shows and then you find other like minded kids and you form an improv troupe. I knew I was going to be funny for a living but I didn’t know what that was going to look like.
You add a lot of physicality to your comedy. What inspires it?
It’s interesting because it’s sort of baked into our brains as Americans. We know bad guys flinch over, witches have creepy teeth and bony fingers. My body naturally forms to the idea of a cartoon I have in my mind and it comes out on stage and helps get the point across. You can use words, but the physicality of it really helps to illustrate what you’re doing and it just comes out naturally.
What makes “Confirmed Kills” different from your last Netflix special, “Freezing Hot?”
When I finished“Freezing Hot,”I remember feeling like I didn’t get out everything I wanted to say and that I was moving toward saying something more uplifting versus just making fun of girls. There was this fire that got lit in me where I was like, ‘If I keep just making fun of girls and we’re all laughing at ourselves, eventually I might become part of the problem.’ I found myself wanting to help women by defending them and say, ‘Here’s why we think the way we do and here’s why the world is scary to us.’ But do it in a way that girls had fun and men didn’t feel alienated.
How long did it take you to prepare the material for this?
I couldn’t have done this special a couple years ago. I didn’t have the wisdom or the hindsight or the material built up or the license to say what I wanted to say. I just didn’t have those perspectives, but for the actual material it took about maybe eight or nine months of just being on the road every weekend, hammering it out five hours a weekend and then bits and pieces at home and the clubs.
You definitely dived deeper into issues facing women on this one.
Here’s what's tough. I’m a white girl from an upper middle class family and I’ve never been overweight so I can’t stand there like, ‘Life is great. Love your body. F— the haters.’ That’s not the reality for most but just because I seem one way to you doesn’t mean I don’t have my own things that I’ve battled in life. I’ve definitely been put down for having opinions. I’ve definitely been called names because I’m a girl or because I’m Jewish or for whatever reason. My whole life I’ve just had this thing in me where I’ve never had a reason to listen when somebody tells me to be quiet. So I can come from the perspective of a woman who has had to withstand the slings and arrows of society.
I can’t tell you to love your body if you hate your body, but what I can tell you is that most people only care about themselves so the amount of time we’re going to waste stressing over everything most people don’t even notice. And only an a—hole expects perfection.
“Confirmed Kills” is now available for streaming on Netflix. Iliza will be embarking on a national tour in promotion of it, swinging through Philly on Nov. 11.