Big screen beckons for star of stand-up
Firmly established as a formidable live act, US comic Iliza Shlesinger has now set her sights on the big screen. Her next venture is Instant Family, alongside Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne. Here, she chats to
DAVE FREAK about her life and career ahead of her upcoming gig at Nottingham’s Glee Club this month.
SET for UK release in February 2019, Instant Family is the latest from Daddy’s Home writer/ director Sean Anders. It’s potentially a big film … but at the time of the interview, Iliza Shlesinger is keeping the finer details under wraps, including her role.
“It’s a comedy that’s really touching, very heartfelt,” explains Iliza. “It’s based on the true story of the writer/director and he and his wife’s journey in adopting three children.”
“I can’t tell you about my character, but that’s all the more reason for you to come see it!” she teases. “Bring your family! Sneak your dog into the theatre!
“I think people will come for the comedy and, honestly, stay for the heart of this movie. It’s awesome, I would say that even if I wasn’t in it.”
She may not be able to reveal much about the film itself, but she can give us some backstage gossip.
“I stole a lot of snacks from craft services,” she confesses, referring to the team responsible for providing food and drink to the Instant Family’s cast and crew. “Like, anytime they yelled ‘cut!’ I would fill up my pockets with candy and I’d look around and whisper ‘lights, camera, SNACK-TION...,’ and then I’d waddle off.
“No one ever found out. It just feels so good to come clean...”
Raised in Dallas, Texas, and now based in Los Angeles, Iliza came to the attention of US audiences after winning Last Comic Standing in 2008, a TV comedy/reality/ talent show which, over the course of nine seasons, also welcomed appearances from such comics as Gina Yashere, Jim Tavare and Paul Foot, as well as Amy Schumer.
Since her win, Iliza has presented panel and talk shows, written a book (Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity), toured a lot, and made several trips to the UK. She also appeared in the 2013 comedy Paradise, starring Russell brand, and recorded four Netflix specials.
But it’s live, on stage, where she really finds her mojo.
“I write onstage,” she says, describing her creative process. “It’s the only way to truly know if something works, to put it out there and see what the people say.
“You can write alone all day, but without that feedback of the audience then you’re just a writer, not a stand-up.