sat 04/12/2021

Iliza Shlesinger, Eventim Apollo review - feminism, the internet - and bras | reviews, news & interviews

Iliza Shlesinger, Eventim Apollo review - feminism, the internet - and bras

Iliza Shlesinger, Eventim Apollo review - feminism, the internet - and bras

US comic's acerbic take on being a woman

Iliza Shlesinger was on a fleeting visit to London on her international tour

Iliza Shlesinger is an American writer, performer and presenter whose film work includes roles in Pieces of a Woman and Good on Paper, the latter which she also wrote and produced. She's also an established stand-up comic, with five Netflix specials to her name. For her latest stand-up show, Back in Action, she was on a fleeting visit to London as part of an international 70-date tour, delayed by COVID, before she performs some dates in the US.

From the off her performance was full of energy, with lots of adroit physical comedy – two standouts being how a woman taking off her bra looks like Mick Jagger dancing and Shlesinger's rather brilliant impression of a gangly newborn giraffe (covered in “girafterbirth”).

The physical comedy is all the more impressive as Shlesinger is expecting her first child in January. She thinks nine months is maybe too long to be pregnant and ponders how much the whole process could be shortened, so babies might come out tiny after, say, a week and then be placed in water to grow to normal baby size.

That's an inspired joke, so it's disappointing that when it comes to some of her material about the differences between men and women, a few of Shlesinger's observations are unoriginal – men are rubbish at emotions and married women don't want sex, for example.

But she has some great insights about how women are so used to being judged on their actions or appearance from an early age that it becomes their default setting. When she talks about her own internalised misogyny she doesn't spare herself either, describing the ego boost of standing next to a woman who is judged less pretty.

She is wonderfully acerbic, too, about her guilty addiction to TikTok and how social media companies have commodified mental health. She also fillets the kind of female internet influencer for whom empowering women means showering them in pink-coloured schmaltz about being “sassy”. Not a word we apply to men, is it?

Shlesinger is particularly adept at examining sexual politics while delivering some punchy gags but it's not all serious stuff. There's a whole section devoted to bras, and how they take on a life of their own – cue raucous laughter of recognition from the women in the audience – in what is often a joyously funny 75 minutes.

When she talks about her own internalised misogyny she doesn't spare herself

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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