“I really wanted to let out the weird part of my brain that Hollywood is always saying push back,” reveals Iliza Shlesinger about creating “The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show.” For our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above), she continues, “Going into it I had a very clear vision about how irreverent I wanted the sketches. You want to pepper in the social message here and there but I wanted to exercise that weird part of my brain.”
The six episode Netflix sketch show provides both wacky characters and irreverent social commentary. One particular sketch involves an AA style meeting for self esteem which takes aim at the messages that are sent to women in society. But Shlesinger says it is just as important to be focusing on sketches that are absurd. “In doing this show I felt it was my chance to not necessarily say something as social but just do something fun. The height of feminism is getting to do something weird and not be worried about perception or being cute or being PC. Just doing whatever is in your brain and doing something weird. I’m a huge fan of weird sketch comedy and weird things in general. Weird things make me laugh and awkwardness makes me laugh. This was a chance to do something that was a departure from the stand up whether it was nectarine conference call or Female Jackass.”
The Female Jackass sketches had women perform socially humiliating stunts in the style of the MTV series ‘Jackass.’ In the past year Shlesinger has also released her fifth Netflix stand up special, ‘Unveiled.’ The comic says, “Getting to make a sketch show was a departure from stand up. Stand-up is a solo sport and sketch is an ensemble. we really wanted to make this a diverse show. Everybody auditioned and everybody was funny. We really wanted it to be an environment of inclusion. The Female Jackass sketches were great. These girls were all super funny and they are all New York city comics. They all put their own spin on their character. We all identified with the material. Whether you are gay or straight, heartbreak is so pervasive as is insecurity being a girl.”
Her most absurd character in the series is Cashew Albacore, an eccentric and deranged billionaire airline executive. To play him Shlesinger has to wear a fat suit and undergo three hours of prosthetics. She confesses, “he came to me in a dream. He just poured out of me. I’m not saying I’m Michelangelo, he’s my David and all I had to do was carve away the marble to find his fat body. That was the most fun and emblematic of the types of thoughts and voices that are in my head all the time.”
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