Iliza Shlesinger unleashes her world-class snark at Yuk Yuk's
At Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club on Thursday, September 20. Continues to September 22
Watching Iliza Shlesinger’s wide array of characterizations, accents, and sound effects during her headlining set at Yuk Yuk’s on September 20, I couldn’t help but wonder why we’ve never seen her on a sketch show like Saturday Night Live. She’s young, good-looking, and comedically talented. Seems like a no-brainer.
The former Last Comic Standing winner (the youngest and only female contestant to win it all in the series’ seven seasons) currently hosts the syndicated dating program Excused, which, if nothing else, showcases her world-class snark.
Shlesinger is a perfect fit for the reality show, judging from her standup, which is based largely on relationships and making fun of ditzy women. But live on-stage, she can offer more than just zingers directed at the vapidity of strangers; she unleashes her scorn, theories, and opinions without interruption and with a rage that never alienates.
You even see hints of past SNL performers in her delivery, from Molly Shannon’s Mary Catherine Gallagher character (Shlesinger has a propensity for the lunge position, but stops short at sniffing her fingers) to Jim Breuer’s Goat Boy (her bleat is used to ridicule the vocal inflection of party girls).
The sold-out crowd was onboard the whole night. They gave her more applause breaks than you usually hear. Sure, some of them were calculated (wordy, fast-paced segments that stretch beyond a typical sentence’s length are sure-fire clap traps), but most came because the crowd was locked in and loving it. Shlesinger’s physicality and pacing left no room for meandering. Even when she’d talk to the audience, there was no sense that she’d lost momentum. She’s a pro who keeps things moving without wondering aloud what to do next.
Her topics ranged from pigeon sex and polar-bear colonization to dieting, drinking, and hand jobs. There was even an appearance by Blanche, the wonder dog, her travelling companion, in a send-up of the schmaltzy Sarah McLachan SPCA ads, a bit she also performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last November.
And opener Sam Easton was a good stylistic match. Both are performers who accentuate a routine with act-outs, and it was nice to hear some new bits and great crowd work from the local.
Comics always talk about the importance of performing regularly. As little as two weeks between sets can knock even polished professionals off their game. But this was, Shlesinger said after the show, her first performance in six months, thanks to a gruelling TV taping schedule that just ended last week, as she prepares for an hourlong standup special. Maybe it was the first-time-back syndrome, where everything goes right. But if not, she needn’t worry much. It sounds like her hour is ready to go.