Comedian Iliza Talks Dallas vs Houston, Party Goblins and Not Being a Mermaid

Meet the stand-up star before she performs in the Bayou City this Thursday.

By Jeanne Lyons Davis January 16, 2017

Iliza shlesinger 0798 y6s2mw

Dallas native, late-night talk show regular and 2008 Last Comic Standing winner (only woman to do so!) stops by Houston's House of Blues on January 19 for her Confirmed Kills tour. Here, we spoke with the Texan about her new Netflix special, millennials and women's crazy obsession with becoming mermaids. 

Houstonia: Dallas and Houston have a long-standing rivalry. As a Dallas native, what are your thoughts about Houston?

Iliza: And it's a rivalry I’ve never questioned, almost like a blood oath. Then I visited Houston outside of the context of high school sports. I went for a wedding, and I was like "It's lovely here!" with great Mexican food and adorable neighborhoods. I just wish we could all get along. 

Have you spent time in Houston? 

In high school we played lacrosse there. How anyone plays in that thick heat is beyond me. I've been back but only to perform. Does anyone take a vacation to Houston?

How has Texas inspired your comedy?

When I was younger, I think the archetype of the overly enticed Southern coach and the accents crept into my character work. I take pride in being able to tell a Texas accent from a regular Southern accent. 

When did your popular #partygoblin bit originate?

Party Goblin came from two things: My love of strange words (goblin is a great word to say and to hear, no one doesn't like it) and wanting to relate to people on the idea that we all have those nights that we just go crazy, and I believe it's because deep in our brains is a creature waiting to strike, to help you make poor decisions. We all have a party goblin in the back of our brains telling us "Text everyone in your phone, then eat a sandwich that fell on the floor and that third shot of tequila is ok!"

In Confirmed Kills, your third Netflix special that’s available now, you really cover the gamut of being a woman. Is all of your material from personal experiences (read: the great hunt for lip liner)? Has there been a recent real-life scenario where you thought, "Hey—this would make a great bit”?

Yeah, I wanted women to feel included and related to. I wanted men to feel that maybe they understood women a bit more too. Have I ever thought "Hey—this would make a great bit?" Literally every second of my life, haha. But recently... I was walking with my boyfriend and we were having a serious talk about our relationship, nothing bad, just about the future. He was saying sweet things and meaningful things, and as we walked, all I could think was "Omg, in 2017, I'm gonna get so thin." 

You incorporate hashtags into your specials, something I don’t believe other comics have done. Does this speak to your tech-savvy younger audience? 

No they haven't, and thank you for noticing! I've done it in the last two. I did this because Netflix does't give out ratings, so, aside from ticket sales, you can't really gauge how many people are watching your special. I put the hashtags so people could interact with what they were watching, which we love to do when we watch TV, and in that interaction, I would be able to get a sense of who was watching and how often. My favorite from the last special? Maybe #searchClaw or #IamNotWrong

How will your Confirmed Kills Tour differ from the special?

I started touring months after that came out and by now, it's been out about 4 months and it has changed a lot. People will get the good stuff from the special and some new stuff. The show is always better live, with me.

As a frank feminist in your specials and on stage, what do you hope women will take away from Confirmed Kills?

That what you think matters. That how you feel isn't wrong. That you don't have to feel bad about your body ever because, I mean, come on, have you ever seen a scrotum? (Can you print that word?) 

Is it surreal to be developing a late-night talk show? Any idea of when we should be setting our DVRs to Freeform?

It's not surreal because this is my fifth attempt, haha, so it feels very deliberate and exciting. It will be surreal if and when it airs. We are hoping to get an air date soon for the first episode! 

Be honest—have you ever wished you were a mermaid?


Iliza Confirmed Kills Tour

Jan 19 at 7. $29–35. House of Blues, Houston, 1204 Caroline St. 888-402-5837. 

Show Comments