Interview with hot comic Iliza Shlesinger

Iliza Shlesinger wants to apologize to Canadians.

Like many women, the comedian has an inexplicable crush on Ontario’s teenaged pop sensation Justin Bieber, and while watching his performance Sunday night at the VMA awards, she sent out the following message from her Twitter account: “Canada! Thanks for giving us justin bieber. You can keep the moose … and most of the other stuff … like cold.”

Iliza Shlesinger is the first female and youngest person to win a season of Last Comic Standing. (Contributed photo)

Shlesinger, who is bringing her act to Lafflines this weekend as part of the Vancouver Global Comedy Fest, immediately felt sender’s remorse. “I felt so bad as soon as I wrote that because I forgot about Mike Myers, Jim Carey, Just for Laughs and Second City and lots of stuff,” she said over the phone from her Hollywood home. “There are so many Canadian things that I like, but there are only 140 characters.”

Canadians – Vancouverites in particular – are unlikely to give her the cold shoulder over the indiscreet tweet, especially as another Canadian thing she likes is a former NHL player. The 27-year-old blonde, the first female and youngest person to win a season of the hit television series Last Comic Standing, is currently dating Jamie McLennan, who was Roberto Luongo’s backup back in his days in a Panthers jersey and is now an assistant coach for the Calgary Flames. She said the relationship has introduced her to a new world.

“Like most Americans, I don’t know a lot about hockey, but because of him my friends and I can get free tickets to games,” she said. “The first time we went, we thought we would dress up, thinking we would be all Sex and the City and look adorable. And then we got in and realized how cold it is and that no one dresses up for hockey.”

Discovering Canada’s game is far from the only new door that has been opened to her since wining the NBC show two years ago.

“I was a comedian before the show, but now I’m a touring working headliner,” she said. “I actually have jobs now that pay me, which is a good thing.”

Shlesinger has since gone on to host a cult-favourite Internet show The Weakly News, have her own half-hour special on Comedy Central Presents, and recently shot a pilot for hosting a new show she is hoping will be picked up.

The newfound fame has also enabled her to tour internationally, including performing at several American military bases.

“Not Iraq, my mom wouldn’t let me go, but I’ve been to a couple of different countries to entertain the troops. It’s something that is really important to me, because they’re risking their lives, and I’m over here making jokes about chickens, so I think it is the least I can do,” she said with a laugh. “Whatever your politics are, it still sucks to be 19 years old in a thousand degree heat and about to jump out of a plane. I can at least tell them a couple of jokes.”

(This story was first published Sept. 15, 2010. © Copyright (c) New West Record)

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