Liza Treyger is one of comedy’s rising funny gals. Her smart jokes inspire tear-inducing laughs and sneak in commentary about social issues like feminism and sex education. Glittercheese, Liza’s debut Comedy Central album, was released last August and is a compilation of more than six years worth of jokes. You might recognize Liza from the roundtable on Chelsea Lately or from Comedy Central’s The Half Hour special. With a pilot for Comedy Central digital in the works, plus upcoming appearances in Comedy Central’s Snapchat show, it’s pretty clear that we are going to be seeing big things from Liza–especially since her candid comedy crushes the game. She’s just as candid off the stage. We caught up with Liza and talked about everything from her “casual feminism” to how people are just the worst.
The description on your album, Glittercheese, says that you are a “casual feminist.” What does that mean?
Liza Treyger: That’s a joke that I have, where I say that I want to be respected and have the same opportunities as men, but, like, carry my luggage—its like really heavy and that’s how I came up with what a casual feminist is to me. So really I think it’s just like it is just because you want equal pay, or be respected or be represented equally in the media or whatever it is…I don’t want to carry my luggage. So when I’m like, “Carry this suitcase for me,” don’t just respond “You’re a feminist.” I’m like, “No, I am, but you still have to do that for me.” I personally don’t wanna carry the suitcase.
In what way do you use your comedy to speak to the sexism that is out there?
LT: When people are laughing and having a good time, like even if you disagree, but you are laughing, it might make you think about it for a second. Or, it might make you think about something you’ve never thought about, and the way I say it is so clear—so clear that you’re laughing—you’re understanding things that maybe you won’t be able to understand. And that is how I use comedy in a way to talk about these social issues that I do care about, but I still want to be really funny and relate to everyone and make sure everyone is having a good time.
What comedians inspire you?
LT: Well, my ultimate favorite person in the world is Fran Lebowitz, and I know she’s not a traditional standup comic, but I think she’s so smart, and I love her attitude, like, “I’m right, and I’m gonna tell you why I’m right, and I’m not going to apologize, and not gonna like be nice or polite or pleasant to make you feel better.” I just love her so much. She doesn’t pick sides, she’s so articulate about everything and everyone, so I’ve been really inspired by her and how she carries herself in every way. I’m also really inspired by Amy Schumer, I mean, what a hard-working person. Holy shit. Not even Michael Jordan has had the year she had. Even if she did one of the accomplishments she had this year, it would be a huge deal, but she has done all of them. It’s really cool to see people working hard, and just reminding you that—don’t get lazy, don’t get an attitude, don’t think you’re too good for something—so I really appreciate seeing people work super hard… they inspire me.
When in your life did you decide you wanted to go into comedy?
LT: Can I do one more person that inspires me?
Yeah, of course!
LT: Big Jay Oakerson. He’s been really awesome to watch. He’s been hosting the side stage at Oddball all summer—I did a couple of his shows, and just watching, I mean…where the concessions were outside—outside hallways of the venue in a way. And what he did could that have been so terrible, he did amazing. Getting people together, not being cynical, not having attitude, just having such a great time hosting. That’s just so inspiring, I feel like Jay got our situation, and made it awesome. I really was inspired.
So when was it that you decided to pursue a career in comedy?
LT: I never knew it was a thing, or thought about it at all. I knew I wanted to act, always. But it never really clicked, it was always about the final product like, “I just want to go to the Oscars and wear a dress,” versus, like, the process. Then I saw Superbad, and that inspired me. I was like, “I’m gonna write a movie.” I started taking writing classes, and someone invited me to go watch them at an open mic. I remember watching these people and I was like, “If they can do it, I can totally do it.” I went up and I just…was just so horrible and did not do well at all, but I just loved it. And I came out the next week with a ton of jokes, and everyone’s like “Did you just write those?” And I was like, “Fuck. Yeah, I did.” I love it. I’ve never had an experience like that where I just enjoy the work so much, like I’m not thinking about the next thing, I just ignore it, and everything else that happens is such a bonus and I’m so happy about it. Cuz I played basketball and I feel like I always faked injuries—like shin splits. I would never fake anything to get out of comedy; it’s the opposite.
How do you deal with negative feedback or haters?
LT: This is the thing. Imagine your day-to-day. How many people do you see on the train, or in traffic, or at your job, or at school—all of these things? How many people are the worst? A lot of them. Unless someone is your friend, I assume you’re gonna hate them. That’s how I feel. Get off your phone, why are you talking so slow, why are you being rude—I just feel like everyone is the worst and annoying. So when someone acts like the worst at a show I’m not surprised at all because I see these monsters in my day-to-day life all the time. So what I try to do is find their weakness and shut them down.
What’s it like to be a woman in the world of comedy?
LT: What’s awesome about being a woman in comedy is you’re going to stand out. The world is desperate for funny women. So, if you are funny and great, you should kick ass. If there are 13 dudes or 20 dudes to every girl and then you’re like, great, you’re going to get shows faster; you’re just going to get a lot more experience.
The thing that bothers me most about being a woman in comedy is that men in comedy get to fuck people so outside of their league. You know, these comics after shows—even mediocre ones, I’m not talking about, like, the funniest, I’m talking about okay-funny guys—after their shows, the smartest, coolest, funniest girls are so enamored by them because they’re funny so they end up having sex with the hottest people, all these girls are flirting with them. Then for me and other women it’s just not the same, like, I never crush it so hard at a show and then like all these dudes are running to have sex to me. And I want to be having more sex. Like, that’s just the most annoying thing. Where most guys who come talk to me, they either want to do stand up, are open mic-ers or they just think I’m great. I wish I got laid as much as men do, who do stand up.
Photo via Twitter/Glittercheese.
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