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Stand-up star Iliza Shlesinger has a leg up in Vegas return

Updated August 27, 2021 - 12:55 pm

Iliza Shlesinger long ago tipped her hand, or should we say tipped a leg, about wanting a baby.

The headlining comic has for the past few years joked about being infatuated with the “chubby baby leg.” The bit is growing in stature, similar to how Jim Gaffigan’s routine about Hot Pockets caught on. In the bit, Shlesinger is walking through an airport, catches a baby’s chubby leg poking out of a blanket, and says, “I had to squeeze it!” She does so without bothering to ask the mother, reasoning, “Women don’t fear other women, when it comes to children.”

Shlesinger, returning to Mirage Theater at 10 p.m. today and Saturday, announced last week she and husband, restaurateur Noah Galuten, are expecting their first child in January. The couple is expecting a daughter.

The baby is already part of Shlesinger’s act, at least off-stage. Asked if she would want the child to follow her mother’s path to the entertainment culture, the comic said, “I would not. I think it’s something that you fall into, because of a calling you can’t ignore. My wish for her is that she does anything that makes her feel genuinely happy, and hopefully fixes global warming. I’m a Jewish mother. So not that much to ask that she saves the world.”

Shlesinger has been busy making mocktails, metaphorically, during the pandemic.

“I’ve done my best to turn lemons into a weird lemonade,” she says. Shlesinger and Galuten, a James Beard-nominated chef, have hosted “Don’t Panic Pantry” since March 2020. The cooking show streams live on Shlesinger’s Facebook page, and has surpassed 200 episodes.

Shlesinger also has a firm hold on Netflix, with five specials currently streaming on the platform. “Unveiled” centers on her married life. The breakthrough “Elder Millennial” premiered in 2018. The comic actor also co-stars in the Netflix movie “Good On Paper.” Shlesinger wrote the script, and is also drafting her second book, “All Things Aside,” due this year.

Aside from all the off-stage activity, Shlesinger says she is ready to return to stand-up in Vegas. Her show is in rotation with the powerhouse “Aces of Comedy” series, in which Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Whitney Cummings, David Spade and Ron White and have also headlined during the city’s reopening.

“I’m just excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy,” Shlesinger says. “I was so excited that I was one of the first people Las Vegas got back on the books. I also just made that up …”

Shlesinger is not too far off. “Aces” returned with Tom Segura on July 2-3, running each weekend since after headlining magician Shin Lim at Mirage Theater.

Shlesinger does recall entering the Vegas stand-up scene in 2008, having won the sixth season of “Last Comic Standing” NBC competition series. She was the youngest performer (25 at the time) and only female to ever win the show.

Her prize was a guest spot in “Jubilee!” at Bally’s, slotted into one of the breaks between production numbers.

“Part of the quote-unquote prize was that I got to go up and do five minutes at this old-school, Las Vegas showgirl performance,” Shlesinger says. “I got to go up for like 800 Chinese tourists and do my five minutes on pizza. It was really more of a sentence than it was a gift of a gig. Just me and 100 showgirls. I read five minutes of material.”

Shlesinger is still culling material from her role as “elder millennial,” at the age that is just on the cusp of the millennial demographic. She’s already mining jokes from fans’ response to her pregnancy.

“It’s funny to me, the amount of people, when I say ‘January,’ they lose their minds at the fact that the baby’s gonna be a Capricorn,” Shlesinger says. “And I’m like, who has these dates memorized? Wow. Like, how is this meaning this much to people? A Capricorn? I’m like, ‘She’s gonna be a baby,’ and that’s the important part.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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