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December 14, 2015

Girl, Uninterrupted

Maria Neuman

Iliza Shlesinger won't outright say she's the hardest-working woman in show biz, but as she rattles off her itinerary it becomes clear she doesn't have much spare time.

"No one cares how tired you are, except for your parents," quips the comedian, who rose to fame in 2008 as the first female — and the youngest contestant — to win NBC's Last Comic Standing.

"I liken it to a silent hustle. There's so much work that goes into this life, most of it unseen. Just today I had three pitches, and last year I filmed four pilots that went absolutely nowhere."

But she's making her whereabouts known. She executive-produced and starred in Freezing Hot, a Netflix original special, earlier this year. Her stand-up circuit takes her state-to-state.

Then there's her podcast (Truth & Iliza) on iTunes, a project in development at ABC and a new hosting gig on the TBS game show Separation Anxiety,set to debut in March.

"Doing the game show was exciting because I didn't have to audition — that's a milestone," she says, laughing. "Secondly, it's a relationship game show with a twist. It touches on different types of close couples, like best friends and siblings, not just married ones. Some of the personal stories were really moving, which was a nice balance from me just ranting on stage."

Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Shlesinger always had a sneaking suspicion her mind worked differently. "I wouldn't say Dallas is a super funny place, but funny was the characteristic that was assigned to me at a very young age, I figured out pretty quickly that was my thing."

Ten years of life in L.A. — coupled with a killer sense of observational humor and some serious ambition — have paid off. "What I would love to do next is host a late-night talk show," she says. "Smart women are missing from that landscape. That's one of the reasons I started my podcast. There're so many comedians out there who are totally hilarious, but that doesn't mean they're any good at listening to other people."

Watch out, boys!

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