Comedian Iliza Shlesinger Takes On Feminism, Politics & Truth In Her New Late Night Show

You guys, seriously, if you have not yet tuned into Iliza Shlesinger’s new late night TV show ‘Truth & Iliza’ on Freeform, where the hell have you been?! There is some great late night content coming from the ladies these days (about time!) which includes (but is not limited to) Chelsea Handler on Netflix and Samantha Bee on TBS. We also can’t wait to see what ex-‘Daily Show’ correspondent Jessica Williams will do next with her major development deal.

Iliza’s show has been airing on Tuesday nights on Freeform, and the first season is a 6-episode run, where she tackles current topics mixing it with her signature brand of comedy and commentary. We’ve posted some of our fave clips throughout this article, exemplifying exactly why we need more of the female gaze on TV taking on important issues of the day. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about the series, the executive producer and host says the show definitely has her feminist point of view, but it will be delivered in a way that envelops pop culture and politics in a funny, intelligent way.

“Our society is such a mess right now, and I feel that no one is speaking to young women in a funny and informed way. I’m the kind of woman where I vote local elections and want to be informed, but I don’t have time to run down to LAX every time something bad happens for a protest. For the longest time, I felt I had to choose what kind of woman I wanted to be when I watched TV. And I didn’t want women to feel that way when they watch my show,” she said.

There are two main segments on her show: “You Can Even And You Must” and “Iliza Breaks It Down”. The former brings up overwhelming news items of the day, ones that make people go “urgh I just can’t do this right now!” and Iliza gives reasons why we can and we must. #Resistance. The latter segment focuses on an important world topic and brings it down to a personal level, allowing audiences to identify with an issue in a way they perhaps had never thought of before.

Some of the topics she discusses include sexism, racism, social media, and reproductive rights. Iliza says she wants to stay as timely and relevant as possible, but with our ever-quickening news cycle (thanks to the craziness of the Trump administration right now and since its beginning!) she knows this can be a tricky balance.

“You don’t want to comment on things that have been treaded upon and you don’t want to be the last one to talk about something. But we’ve been doing practice episodes and some of those ideas will still be relevant when we start airing, we’d just have to tweak it a little bit. Bill O’Reilly will be a distant memory by our first episode, but ladies, the good news is that we are not short on men harassing women, so there will always be more jokes at the ready,” she said.

Since women are a rarity (understatement) in the late night TV/comedy space, at least when it comes to hosting their own show, when a female does land a coveted spot, she gets the inevitable question about being a “successful female comic”. Sigh… We can’t wait for more women to dominate in this space so someone like Iliza having her own show is a norm, not an anomaly.

“I don’t compare myself to other women and it’s shocking to see how antiquated peoples’ thoughts are, where we say, ‘Well, if one woman can do it, then it’s OK.’ But if one woman fails, we automatically think, ‘All women aren’t funny.’ So any woman who’s been allowed to enter this pantheon of late night, or of comedy, and does well, it does nothing but help,” she said.

Iliza believes it is her determination, grit, and hard-work that has got her to where she is today, despite having to battle against gender barriers. This is something she wants her female fans to know.

“My perfect idea of feminism is that we judge based on character and merit. It’s my goal to empower women that are younger than me, women that are looking for something and women around me. My showrunner, head writer, manager and lawyer are all women, and that’s because they showed up and were good and that’s it,” she said.

She believes she has the ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences, from marginalized groups to mainstream crowds, and started out with a mostly male fan base. Iliza certainly doesn’t shy away from including feminist topics and material in her comedy, and especially in her show, but says her perspective and voice ensures that no one is alienated in particular.

“I’ve watched my audiences go from men, to men with dates, to women by themselves, to women with other women on bachelorette parties. My intention isn’t to spread hate speech, I don’t hate men. I’m angry at some things, but I’m more frustrated as a woman trying to be successful when anyone tells me I can’t. I get frustrated when women are mean to other women and when I’m not heard as a human. There’s a way to communicate with everyone without alienating anyone,” she said.

If you have seen any of her Netflix stand-up specials and love what she had to say about feminism and her show, we highly recommend watching ‘Truth & Iliza’ on Freeform while the first season is still running, and catch up on the various segments on Youtube.


 

 

 

 

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