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For comedian Iliza Shlesinger, telling jokes on Netflix is ‘terrifying, but cool’

iliza shlesinger netflix freezing hot interview 003
Comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s star has been on the rise since winning the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing. Since then, she’s made a name for herself as successful touring comic, hosted a reality dating show, and released her own comedy special, War Paint.

But it wasn’t until now, with her first Netflix original comedy special Freezing Hot set for release on Jan. 23, that Shlesinger finally feels like she’s “sitting at the cool kids’ table.”


In Freezing Hot, Shlesinger ribs on many topics, including Pinterest, which she calls “porn for white women.” The humor in her previous special was more observational, but this time, she takes a closer look at male-female interactions on and off the Internet.

Netflix – which has said it will crank out much more original programming this year than it did in 2014 – previously acquired Shlesinger’s one-hour comedy debut, War Paint, along with a myriad of outlets. On Netflix, though, War Paint did so well that the streaming service decided to call dibs on her next special.

“They came to me and said we want the next one to be a Netflix original,” the 31-year-old comedian tells Digital Trends. “The great thing about them is this isn’t some network that takes your special and chops it up. This is your baby, through and through, and it stays that way. And having a company this big and popular put faith in an artist is … terrifying, but really cool.”

It’s also really important to the streaming service, which said this week it added 4.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2014 and plans to kick its original programming binge up a few notches in 2015.

“Standup is a tough job and a gritty job. I’m always looking for bigger audiences and bigger stages.”

That original programming lineup includes productions like Freezing Hot, which was filmed in Denver late last year. Netflix isn’t content to only be the home for a lot of old reruns and a few original titles that garner heady waves of buzz, like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Over the last year, the service has worked to fashion itself into a storehouse for a wider variety of originals that keep users tied to the service, with a collection that includes everything from genre-specific original TV series like Marco Polo to documentaries to comedy specials like Shlesinger’s.

In a letter to shareholders released this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said as much. He pointed to the service’s pursuit of original content that’s resulted over the last few years in a bevy of Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations and wins.

“This year, we are launching 320 hours of original series (new and returning), films, documentaries and stand-up comedy specials — triple the amount of original programming Netflix released in 2014,” he writes.

In the first three months of the year, Nexflix is premiering season three of House of Cards, a new Tina Fey comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bloodline, a family thriller from the creators of Damages. It’s also continuing to add new content to its offerings all the time. On January 24, Netflix will begin streaming the controversial Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy The Interview.

Shlesinger’s contribution to that pile comes as the comic recently reached a deal to develop her own show with ABC called Forever 31. It’s based on her life as a touring standup comedian, and the plan is for her to write it and star in it.

“I believe in always having a lot of irons in the fire,” Shlesinger said on the eve of her new special’s debut. “Standup is a tough job and a gritty job. I’m always looking for bigger audiences and bigger stages. Really, however I can reach my fans is what will make me happy – well, I’ll actually probably never be happy. I’m going to die unhappy. That’s how artists roll!”

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