Comedian Iliza Schlesinger brings wild act to Jorgensen

Iliza Shlesinger connected with the Jorgensen crowd by asking about the UConn chant and pointing out how much better it was than the chant at the University of Arkansas. (Rebecca Newman/Daily Campus)

Standup comedian Iliza Shlesinger delivered a clever, wide-ranging hour of comedy to a large crowd of UConn students at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts Wednesday night.

Shlesinger, who won the sixth season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” touched on a wide range of topics during her set, propelled by her exuberant stage presence. From the behavior of war veterans to the anatomy of mermaids, she brought enough witty jabs to go around, keeping the audience engaged throughout. With an exclusively college-aged audience in attendance, she wasn’t shy about making raunchy remarks, but they did not define her act.

From the very beginning, Shlesinger connected with the Jorgensen crowd by asking about the UConn chant and pointing out how much better it was than the chant at the University of Arkansas. After noticing herself on two large screens on either side of the stage, she made a great quip that showed her observational sense of humor: “What is this, a TED Talk?”

From there, it was right into the fun topics. First: a breakdown of partying and the inner voice that pushes people towards a night of partying when it is not meant to be. Shlesinger showed a knack for comedic facial expressions and voices in this segment and during the rest of the show, helping to earn laughs from the audience. She certainly could excel as an actress if she chooses to take her comedy career in that direction.

During the middle of the show, Shlesinger spoke about being a woman.

“The one thing we want guys to think is that we’re thin,” she joked, before continuing that she wanted to have the legs of the alien from “Signs” and the arms of a zombie from “I Am Legend.” On a more serious note, the 32-year old directed advice towards the younger crowd while keeping the tone extremely light throughout.

One of Shlesinger’s best lines came during a breakdown of millennial culture, as she targeted Instagram. 

“When an Instagram post goes over four hashtags, you are beginning to watch human thought devolve,” before rattling off a stunningly long list of humorous hashtags.

Even when her bits went on for too long, as they occasionally did, she kept them entertaining with a rapid-fire delivery that never stopped or stuttered.

The longest bit of the night was her riff on reality television show “Shark Tank,” as she broke down the three types of women that pitch their potential businesses to the show’s investors. When detailing the hypothetical presentation of the final type of woman, she pulled out all the stops for a hilariously detailed sketch, playing all the roles herself.

The sketch showed all of Shlesinger’s skills at once: kinetic energy, strong impersonations, quick wit and a big stockpile of jokes. It was a closing act to remember.

Not Wednesday night at Jorgensen.

“I usually close on that, but you guys were so great that I have one more thing for you,” she said after the “Shark Tank” sketch, before bringing out her adorable puppy to do a humorous parody of Sarah McLachlan’s animal cruelty commercials.

And guess what: Shlesinger can sing, too. How about that.


Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu.