One way or another, in at least one aspect of your life, Iliza Shlesinger has got you figured out; but don’t worry, she is here to help.
The indefatigable comedienne, having endured the scrutiny of a male-dominated industry and exceeded the expectations that fell on her after being the youngest—and only female—to win Last Comic Standing (in 2006), has returned with a biting new Netflix special. Whereas her past stand up special teased women about the ways in which they tried to attract men (as well as the dumb things men do), Freezing Hot is an aggressive deconstruction of the relationship between the two genders.
“A big thing about me is letting any girl out there know it’s not about standing on a soapbox and talking about how great women are,” said Shlesinger during a phone interview from New York, ahead of her appearance on The Tonight Show. “It is about living your dreams and standing up for yourself and not letting someone out of their own insecurity squash your dreams.”
The 31-year-old comic, who also hosted the reality dating show Excused, says her comedy has grown significantly over the years, and the change is evident between her last special War Paint and her latest one, Freezing Hot, set to hit Netflix on January 23. She is no longer the party girl in her 20s observing the way in which girls do ridiculous things to attract men, ignore wearing coats in the cold, and forget where the car is parked.
“As you get older, you do less and less of those things, and your comedy gets more introspective,” she explained. “It’s less about observing others and more about delving into my own thought processes and insidious thoughts and really taking a look at not so much the observation, but why we’re doing it.”
“In Freezing Hot, I really strive to say not only why girls or couple or peoples do something, but give a reason.”
While Shlesinger does hilariously dissect dating life and quirky little situations, like why a women brings a clutch when meeting a man, there is an overarching and important theme as well to her latest special. At one point, she so casually and simply lays out a profound statement, saying our society dabbles in ‘the currency of women’s insecurities’ by telling women that everything they are doing is wrong.
“The objective in War Paint,” continued Shlesinger “was for people to stop being mean to women because they want to have children. The objective in this one is not feminism in a negative way, but that it should all be fair. Men, if you’re going to do weird things with your wiener, we should be able to do things with our vaginas.”
“The underlying message is fairness and standing up for your craziness and not backing down,” she said, joking aside. “Women, just keep your eyes open and know whatever you’re doing is fine, if you have crazy thoughts, that’s okay too. Women are crazy but it’s only coming from a place of necessity and we have a biological clock and they do crazy things to our brains.”
She is more than happy to reveal that craziness too, the weird, playful, maybe even manipulative things that women do, including an unbridled love for fall, the presence of an internal party goblin, and disappointment for having only one drink on a date. During her stand up she isn’t the least bit hesitant to make herself look silly either, adopting wacky voices, stomping around on stage as a dinosaur, and accepting that there is no graceful way to whip away sweat from one’s upper lip. Such is life, and Shlesinger embraces it as all others should.
“There are two types of men in this world,” offered Shlesinger. “There are men that love when a woman is funny and want to give it right back. Then there are men who hate when women speak. That’s it, there are two types of guys. Guys who are okay with it and those who aren’t.”
Ultimately, Shlesinger hopes her message is positive and she isn’t attacking anyone; it’s about explaining the weird things men and women do and why.
“It’s never my goal to make anyone feel bad, or point fingers at anyone and I think I’m allowed to say these things because I lived them. It comes from a place of love. I never mean to make a guy feel bad. I’m just explaining our craziness.”
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. You can follow him on Twitter @MrAnthonyWrites.