The first thing you notice when you talk to Iliza Shlesinger is that she is refreshingly candid. As both the youngest and the first female winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing, she's a confident comedian with no shortage of things to say, and Freeform has given her the perfect platform to share her unique vision of the world. Her talk show, Truth and Iliza, premieres Tuesday, May 2 at 10/9c, and, in a phone interview with Bustle, Shlesinger revealed how she'll change the late night rules for women with a show that's unlike any other.
"It occupies this space between pop culture and politics and social commentary," says Shlesinger. "My objective in the show is to inform women, in particular, in a fun way. You can be a political girl and you can love Rachel Maddow, but, for the most part, most women — most people — aren’t as informed as they want to be because politics are boring."
For the most part, the star wants to leave the political talk to her fellow female colleagues. And it's clear Shlesinger is not interested in following any of the late night rules. She's coming to break them, first and foremost, by aiming her comedy at her key demographic of fans — other women.
"I'm excited to connect with women, as a stand-up," Shlesinger explains. "I’ve gotten to really internalize the message that women all have one big heart, and they just want to be understood. I don’t feel that there’s enough women out there who are just like me, talking to me, so that’s what I want to do for other women."
Each episode of Truth & Iliza will take on one topic, with Shlesinger using her trademark humor to offer up an answer to the pressing questions you actually want answered. She won't just be talking at her audience though; she wants her politically engaged, socially savvy viewers to feel like they are a part of the conversation. "I want to engage fans to feel like this is your show and we’re building this together," Shlesinger reveals.
"I just think it’s time to speak to women in an intelligent, informed way that is funny."
It's rare for late night television to feel anything like a community for female fans. As in the world of comedy, late night TV remains a boys club. Shlesinger is joining Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler as women breaking down the barriers of the genre, barriers that have been up for far too long. But the idea of following the standard interview, chat, and monologue model of her predecessors never seemed to occur to a born innovator like Shlesinger. Instead, she went in armed with the format of her podcast of the same name and years of comedy experience to create a new kind of late night talk show.
"Wouldn’t it be great if someone just like you (re: me), took something that was going on in your world and broke it down in a funny and relatable way?" Shlesinger says. "I hate the idea that women have to choose between crapping on celebrities and watching the news. I just think it’s time to speak to women in an intelligent, informed way that is funny."
Basically, late night TV is never going to be same after Truth & Iliza's premiere — and that's a good thing. It's been the same for far too long.