Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Exclusive: Iliza Shlesinger ‘05 is back in Boston

Graphic by Clara Faulkner

Transitioning from her Jimmy’s All Stars days to gracing the immense stage of TD Garden, Iliza Shlesinger ‘05 is set to embark on a triumphant return to Boston with her “Hard Feelings Tour,” promising an unforgettable show on Oct. 13th.

A trailblazer for women in comedy, Shlesinger’s journey is an enduring testament to her unyielding dedication, resilience, and undeniable talent. Shlesinger’s comedy is powerful in a world where humor often transcends boundaries and challenges conventions.

Since graduating from Emerson, Shlesinger has garnered a dedicated fanbase, releasing two books as well as several critically acclaimed stand-up comedy specials. With titles such as “War Paint,” “Freezing Hot,” and “Elder Millennial,” her comedy specials delve into various aspects of her life while offering a hilarious and relatable take on topics ranging from relationships to self-empowerment. 

Shlesinger’s comedic approach is more than just laughter; it’s a fearless commentary on the perplexing parts of life, a razor-sharp critique of societal norms, and an exuberant celebration of individuality. In an interview with The Berkeley Beacon, Shlesinger shared that she dismantles preconceived notions with every punchline. 

“The trick to comedy is picking out the right moments to share,” she said. “You offer up your vulnerability, hoping people will feel seen by laughing at you.” 

When asked about her time in Boston and college life, the comedian offered her appreciation for the city and her ability to connect to the crowd in a large venue.

“You ask any 40-year-old who went to a liberal arts college if they clearly remember their college days. If they do, then they didn’t have enough fun,” Shlesinger said. “I’m really just more pulling from my genuine love for the city of Boston and all the time I spent there.”

Whether she’s introducing new content or relying on tried-and-true material, Shlesinger offers an insightful perspective. 

“It’s a tough city,” she notes, referring to the discerning Boston audience. “They’re a smart crowd, they’re a fun crowd, so you don’t need to cater to them.” 

In a modern comedic era where humor has become a currency of social interaction, Shlesinger’s ability to flourish reflects her willingness to shed the confines of conformity. She demonstrates a remarkable talent for adapting to this dynamic environment, pushing boundaries, and leading the charge uniquely.

Drawing from her own experiences in the competitive industry, Shlesinger offers valuable insights to Emerson students aspiring to carve a path in comedy.

“Not every comedian is good. Not every comedian hits 100 percent of the time. But it takes time. There’s no magic answer.” Shlesinger shared. “I put just as much effort into an hour at TD Garden as I do a 20-minute spot at the comedy store. Because I love doing it so much, knowing that you will probably fail, you have to love it.”

When asked about her highly anticipated performance at TD Garden, she shares that audiences can look forward to an eccentric atmosphere and a fresh set designed to pay homage to Boston. During a 2014 interview with the Beacon when she visited her alma mater, Shlesinger candidly characterized her comedic style as “aggressive, with just a touch of glitter.”  

This vibrant description has remained a poignant and enduring metaphor that Shlesinger skillfully weaves into her comedic repertoire and describes what will come at TD Garden. 

“We’re just going to fill that arena with so much energy,” she said. “From the second you walk in till the second we close, it’s gonna be full-speed, high-octane, and lots and lots of glitter. Not actual glitter, though, because it’s bad for the planet. So proverbial, like just a hypothetical.”

Shlesinger’s forthcoming gig at TD Garden isn’t your run-of-the-mill comedy show: it’s more of a hilarious love letter to her Boston fans, an extravagant testament to the inexplicable ways this city has molded her comedic genius.

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About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor
Clara Faulkner holds dual roles at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Before taking up these positions, she showcased her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a field she is deeply passionate about, driven by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Aside from her editorial work, Clara actively engages in multiple campus organizations, including SPJ, CPLA, WECB, and AEPHI. Moreover, she takes on the role of marketing director at Emertainment. Beyond her writing endeavors, Clara delves into the realms of culinary exploration, cinematic indulgence, and language acquisition, constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge.

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