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The First Time: Iliza Shlesinger

Spenser Confidential actor Iliza Shlesinger talks meeting Peter Berg and her first time doing stand-up

Iliza Shlesinger talks about getting drunk off of Smirnoff Ices, buying her dog, and her first stand-up act in the latest segment of “The First Time.”

As the Dallas-born comedian explains, her first comedic act was at a coffee house open-mic night during her “Semester at Sea.” After doing some “ship-specific” observational humor, her comedy act took off. “I took my act on the road to Los Angeles, where I did stand-up proper for the first time in a club that doesn’t exist anymore, above a bar that doesn’t exist anymore,” she explains.

Shlesinger is starring alongside Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke in the comedy-thriller Spenser Confidentialdirected by Peter Berg, available on Netflix. Although she doesn’t remember the moment she met Berg, she does recall how comfortable he made her feel. “He was oddly elegant for a tough dude,” she says. “I remember thinking that I felt welcome on his set.”

Shlesinger also brought her dog, Tian Fu, to the taping and explains how she had no intention of returning with a pet that day, but she ended up leaving the store with one. “She opened her car door like she was selling knock-off VCRs, and there was Tian Fu sitting there,” she says. “A couple hundred bucks later and no paperwork, I had this dog.”

Toward the end of the episode, she recalls her first time being drunk. After a seafood dinner and downing four Smirnoff Ices, her night ended with her throwing up while being video taped.

Her first published book, Girl Logic, is a collection of her essays and observations, and the comedian admits that writing a book is hard work. Shlesinger also opened up about the times she felt underestimated. “I think underestimation is all around you,” she says. “Every time you do anything, you’re proving someone out there wrong. The key is to know that there will always be people that are rooting for you and in your corner, and always be people who, for whatever reason, doubt you.”

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