'It's personal,' says the host of Freeform's 'Truth & Iliza'
Iliza Shlesinger has won Last Comic Standing, had a chart-topping comedy album (War Paint) and two Netflix comedy specials (Freezing Hot and The Confirmed Kills Tour). And now, thanks to Freeform’s Truth & Iliza, she’ll have her own late-night show — starting Tuesday night.
“I’ve wanted this forever,” Shlesinger tells EW. “It’s the result of me absolutely refusing to lay down when people rejected me, and of a lot of reflection, digging, and education. I finally get a chance to take my point of view and comedy off the stage and bring it to television.”
Viewers will be introduced to Shlesinger’s point of view from the get-go, as each weekly installment of her current six-episode run will revolve around a theme that informs the entire half hour episode, including which guests will appear, and how current events will be discussed — especially with most of each episode being taped the same day it airs, with some of the sketches and interviews having been pre-taped.
“I just thought about things that were important to me, or subjects that I believe warranted expanding,” explains Shlesinger of how she came up with themes to frame each episode around. “Things in our country have come to such a boil. People are so afraid to say anything because they don’t want to look ignorant. The whole show is about uncovering the fear and asking questions.”
Among some of the topics up for discussion on the series will be: what people can say (and the fear of repercussion), female competition, what it means to be a millennial, and how women’s bodies are portrayed in the media. But despite the sensitive nature of some of these topics, Shlesinger says there is no political agenda to the show.
“My only agenda is trying to make you laugh and say something smart,” says the 34-year-old host. “As women, and as people, we’re often forced to choose between pop culture and tearing down celebrities or a show about politics. This is a social show and it occupies the space between those worlds. It’s personal.”
In fact, this focus on young women — and especially how they treat one another — is something the Truth & Iliza host considers a “sub-agenda” for the show.
“I’ve never been the kind of woman that hates other women, particularly based on their attractiveness,” says Shlesinger. “I just want to shift the way that women see other women… Young women should be given a break. I just want to communicate that I’m on their side.”
And Shlesinger really is hoping the show’s point of view will inspire some change among her viewers and fans — especially since she’s drawing on her own experiences.
“Over the last years watching the way our country is changing has made me realize that perspective shifts do begin with opening your eyes and hearing what people have to say,” she says. “It’s only through aging and going through heartbreak and loss and successes and failures that you can look back and look at the mistakes some young people make.”
Truth & Iliza premieres Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform.