Iliza Shlesinger, a comedian best known for her Netflix special called “Elder Millenial,” will be landing in Tokyo this June to perform her first ever show in Tokyo. Metropolis writer Jess Carbutt met up with Iliza to hear more about how she is preparing to tour Asia for the first time and finally meet her international fans.
Metropolis: This is your first time touring in Asia, but is it your first time travelling to Japan? Are you looking forward to being in Tokyo?
Iliza Shlesinger: I’ve been all over Asia, but never for comedy. I’ve been to Tokyo twice and I’m still looking forward to it just as much as the first time. I love seeing the pride the Japanese people take in their work, it’s a real cultural lesson getting to eat and walk around Tokyo and, while sticking out like a sore thumb, just being immersed in the city.
M: Your tickets are selling fast so it’s clear that there is a demand for you in Asia. Why do you think that your material can be so popular amongst international fans and successful at breaching potential cultural gaps?
IS: There’s a shared human experience — across the globe people are frustrated by the same things and we secretly think the same things. I’m just saying what we’re all thinking and what many of us feel we aren’t allowed to express. That’s why comedy audiences sit in the dark, it’s easier to laugh at yourself and others when no one is looking at you.
M: Comedy scenes vary between countries across the world. Are there any non-western comedians that you admire?
IS: I admire anyone who can get up in front of strangers and make them laugh with their own honesty.
M: “Elder Millennial” not only explores experiences that many people of this generation can relate to and that “younger millennials” can learn from, but also promotes gender equality and body confidence. Would you consider yourself a role-model to the “younger millennials” listening to your comedy?
IS: As comedians, we say the things we say because we have this innate urge to get it out in the open, to speak our truths and to point out the faults in society and in ourselves. Sometimes people like it and sometimes they don’t, but saying what I’m feeling and exploring those feelings is what the art is all about. The fact that people have gravitated toward that is humbling and rewarding but I never set out to set an example for younger people. That being said, I’m glad they are listening and liking what they hear, it lets me know I’m not old and misguided…Yet.
M: As a female millennial myself, I wish that I could have had such a confident, empowering woman like yourself to look up to and guide me in my teenage life choices, my perspective of myself and the things I could achieve. Did you have any role models when you were younger that helped shape who you are today and what philosophies drive your comedy?
IS: I didn’t. My attitudes and views probably stem from the fact that I really had no one to guide me or look up to. I made my own rules and my own path. The philosophies that drive my comedy are the same that drive me as a person — try not to hurt anyone, include people, speak from a high light and be funny above all else.
M: You’re already working towards your next special. How is that coming along?
IS: By the time I’m in Tokyo I will have filmed it. It was awesome. The jokes were polished, the crowd had a great time and the pyrotechnics went off without a hitch. Okay, we had to draw my eyebrows in...
Date: June 7
Time: 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Ticket price: ¥8,000
Venue: Shinjuku Face, Tokyo
Tickets and more information: https://metropolisjapan.com/event/iliza-shlesinger-live-in-tokyo-2019/