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Iliza on why she doesn’t discuss sex in her stand-up

Larry King NowOct 29 '16

Stand-up comedian Iliza says she thinks female comics are too quick to discuss sex in their acts, and explains why she chooses not to.

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Larry King: You don't do sexual things, right?

Iliza Shlesinger: I'm not, I would say, dirty.
Larry King: Do you curse?
Iliza Shlesinger: Oh, yeah.
Larry King: So, what's that line? Lenny Bruce, the great Lenny Bruce, was a dear friend of mine. And he was so far ahead of his time, I mean, it's a joke. Right? So how do you draw that line between, I will do, I'll say dirty words but I won't say dirty things.
Iliza Shlesinger: I think, well, there's two parts to that. I think women a lot of times in comedy think the lower, if I can just grab a low-hanging fruit and I can just say something dirty and I talk about sex, it's gonna get a laugh because it's the lowest common denominator. Everybody has sex. Maybe not well, maybe not often, but it happens. And I think it's about what you wanna talk about. And, you know, never say never. Maybe you evolve to a certain place and you do want to talk about something sexual. But, for me, I think it's a very easy laugh and I think your comedy on stage is an extension of you as a person. And I don't walk around talking about...I don't try to be as disgusting as possible. There is a line, I think you can be honest, But I think if you can do it in a smart way I think it serves your purpose better.
Larry King: Now, Jackie Gleeson thought that curse words or racial talk was easy laughs.
Iliza Shlesinger: They are easy laughs.
Larry King: He didn't want to get easy laughs.
Iliza Shlesinger: Right. So, you don't want an easy laugh. But some people do. Some people want an easy laugh and an easy sitcom, and they don't care. I think there's a difference between being a true stand up comedian and just somebody who's going to be funny for a living.
Larry King: You love the laugh.
Iliza Shlesinger: Love the laugh. But, it doesn't feel good. If you say something stupid and they laugh, I will straight up on stage be like "That was off-brand, and I don't like that I said that."