Friday, February 28, 2014

Iliza Shlesinger's "War Paint"




A couple of months ago I placed Iliza Shlesinger’s “War Paint” on my “Best of 2013” list and, after listening to it again on repeat over the last few days, I am happy to report I have absolutely zero buyer’s remorse. It’s a fun album with over an hour’s worth of solid bit after solid bit and definitely one of the strongest projects I’ve heard in recent history.

I like Shlesinger because she goes all-out, all of the time. She commits every bit of her energy into getting the laugh and does whatever it takes to hammer her point home. Sometimes that means she has to change her voice, her expression, or her body language (Be sure to spring for the CD/DVD combo to get the most bang), and sometimes she goes even further. Noises explode from Shlesinger’s mouth at rapid-fire pace, sometimes before you even realize where they came form. The bleat of a sheep is a great tool in her comedy kit, serving as a hilariously biting commentary on women blindly following the herd. 

And sometimes the only punctuation she needs is a swift, rapid-fire side kick in the air. 

Regardless of the tactic she takes to bring us to the funny, it’s always successful, and not knowing which route she’s going to take (sometimes it’s a combination of some or all of the above) is part of the fun.

Shlesinger dives in with an impressive rat-a-tat plane-boarding spiel that would make the Micro Machines announcer envious and never once lets up for the next 75 minutes. Her bits aren’t “bits” as much as they are “generous helpings” of comedy, each one pulled, stretched, and explored until every last laugh is wrung out of it. P90X, girls trying to find their way home (baaaaa), and her dream of being a pharmacist may have been one or two-line throwaways in the hands of another comedian, but Shlesinger really does her work and finds every possible laugh there may be lurking inside.

We’ve all heard male comics complain about females and we’ve also heard the reverse. Shlesinger turns that approach on its ear and turns traitor, ratting out every woman in the theater as she reveals their secrets, habits, flaws, and forbidden fantasies about marrying their cat. No matter how funny a guy may be talking about women, it’s nothing compared to the intel Shlesinger brings to the table. She’s been behind enemy lines and knows the Apocalypse Now appearance of a late-night ladies’ room.

I’ve heard the CD. I’ve watched the DVD. I was even fortunate enough to catch Shlesinger live headlining at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York last year. The fact of the matter is, despite the format, Shlesinger is throwing down some serious comedy. Put on your war paint and join the fight.