Iliza Shlesinger - Hard Feelngs Tour

Hard Feelings is no ordinary stand-up hour, but then Iliza Shlesinger is no ordinary comedian. Everything in this show is simply astonishing, as it is filled to the brim with such hilarity that we cannot help but continuously laugh and enjoy ourselves. Over the course of the show, Shlesinger builds us up and gives us the confidence that makes us feel like we can take on the world.

Gives us the confidence that makes us feel like we can take on the world

Chloe Petts is Shlesinger’s warm-up act for the evening and her comedy perfectly complements Shlesinger’s, almost giving us a crash course of what we can expect over the next hour. Constantly keeping us on our toes with the direction of her material, Petts regales us with anecdotes of what it is like to experience being called ‘boss man’ or the hero at a wedding. With her timing and off-the-cuff banter, Petts leads us to unexpected twists and subversive commentary, that proves to be extremely hilarious.

Using the power of rational thought, acerbic wit and laughter, Shlesinger voices frustrations about societal behaviours and fighting against them, stemming from a place of experience and her role as an observationist comic. Weaving the show together with anecdotes, Shlesinger adopts an incredibly approachable persona, like a friend imparting life advice and giving us some tough love. Her tone is on occasion very disbelieving and sarcastic, but it makes it seem like she’s telling off the standards and norms that have led to the internalisations that she uses her comedy to fight against. In Hard Feelings, she uses her stage to implore women to know their own worth, to be comfortable with who they are and if we’re going to be angry, to direct that anger in a way that is useful, that does something and is a wake-up call. It is helpful to hear these things from someone else. Shlesinger has a kind of common-sense comedy, that manages to make us laugh whilst speaking truth to power. This is what makes her comedy not only entertaining, but extremely important. She uses the platform that she has to contribute to the overall dialogue and to give us the tools that we need to help ourselves.

Hard Feelings is very similar to a spoken-word thesis, because of how it’s structured; hypothesis, anecdote/example and analysis, which creates this balance between being a comedy show and a talk on feminism. Shlesigner is expert at committing to the bit, running with a joke and incrementally building up the gag into this mammoth of a joke until we're doubled over with laughter. She has a lot of control over how she tells the joke; whether it’s a change in tone or some form of physical comedy, Shlesinger far exceeds the mark that she aims for. She makes us laugh continuously, and even when she's making a point that's more serious, she punctuates it with a joke or offhand comment that once more lifts the tone of the show. The choice of topics that surround her show’s central message are quite eclectic; to predict where her anecdote might be going is an exercise in futility, because of her twists and remarkable comic timing, she is able to lead us to a point where we think we know where she’s going, but she then surprises us with a twist.

It’s incredibly empowering to watch Shlesinger, because she doesn’t just do stand-up comedy, but voices insecurities that we may have and provides advice on how to fight them; how to help ourselves. She tells us what they need to hear, directly speaking to us through her jokes and observationist humour. Her ability to wrap her activist messages in jokes but also keep the two parts separate is what makes Shlesinger such a great comedian, adding gravitas to what she is saying which just makes it mean more. She gives advice that we probably know deep down, but just need to hear from someone else in order to act upon it. Hard Feelings is Iliza Shlesinger at her best, and it would do a whole lot of good for more people to see this show.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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Iliza Shlesinger - Hard Feelngs Tour

★★★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Award-winning U.S. comedian, actor, writer, producer, and author Iliza Shlesinger returns to London following her sold-out, critically acclaimed world tour with a brand-new stand-up show at Eventim Apollo for two nights.

Straight talking and provocative, Iliza has proven she is one of today’s hardest working comedians: “The queen of social satire” (The i) is fresh off the release of her 6th Netflix Special Hot Forever and her second book All Things Aside: Absolutely Correct Opinions. Iliza was recently included in Variety's 2022 Comedy Impact Report and Adweek's Creative 100 list which acknowledges inspiring and innovative individuals. Her previous Netflix specials include the wildly successful Elder Millennial, Unveiled, Confirmed Kills, Freezing Hot, and War Paint.

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