Stream It Or Skip It: 'Iliza Shlesinger: Hot Forever' On Netflix, The Comedian Takes On Ugly Bras And The Ugliness Of Men – Decider

Stream It Or Skip It: 'Iliza Shlesinger: Hot Forever' On Netflix, The Comedian Takes On Ugly Bras And The Ugliness Of Men – Decider

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For her sixth Netflix comedy special, Iliza Shlesinger not only has thoughts about motherhood, but also issues more broad warnings and concerns about what it’s like just trying to survive as a woman in America these days. Despite the title, she’s not so much concerned about staying hot forever so much as she’s concerned about what we’re telling men and women about what feminism looks like. Also: Butthole jokes and TikTok dances.
The Gist: In her first four specialsWar PaintFreezing HotConfirmed Kills, and Elder Millennial— Shlesinger aimed to speak for her generation of young women, how they worked, partied and endured relationships, and how she evolved along with them. Her 2019 special, Unveiled, brought us along with her as she got married.
Since then, she produced and starred in her own sketch series for Netflix (Decider said Skip It), a movie based on one of her past real-life relationships, Good On Paper (Decider said Stream It!) and also gave birth to her first daughter. There’s no talk about her former projects, a little bit about the latter, and much more time devoted to how motherhood has changed her body and her mindset. So the hour delves into the power of TikTok, how and why women judge each other in comparison, and what men need to know about dealing with women in the bedroom and the office.
What Comedy Specials Will It Remind You Of?: At this point, Shlesinger has her own six-pack of specials on Netflix, so she’s really her own genre now on the platform.
Memorable Jokes: Part of her appeal remains her ability to embody her point of view through voices and physicality.
That’s proven here again early on with a bit about TikTok, which Shlesinger describes as both “a real blight on American history” for turning everyone into dancers when it’s “only for like, 22-year-old, smoking hot girls.” She earns an applause break for demonstrating just how unsexy you’d look performing a TikTok dance in the real world, outside of the app. Later, she’ll confess she watches way too many TikTok videos herself before going to sleep.
More applause breaks come her way for declaring herself as “fiercely pro-choice” and for describing the anxiety girls feel when they first make out with a boy, knowing he’ll be flummoxed in his first attempt to unhook their bras. The trailer cuts up what’s a much longer chunk of jokes about bras, from how they’re not made for women with C-cups or larger, to how women will hang onto an ugly bra. And even have imagined conversations with said ugly bra after her husband falls asleep.
Shlesinger also takes time to reflect upon her first post-baby pandemic trip with her husband to Italy, how she compared herself to all of the beautiful 25-year-old European women in rompers she saw, what it means for women to judge each other, and why being a competitive man is great, yet a derided character trait for women. There’s a moment within this chunk in which she mentions judging another woman for her specific style, then upon hearing silence in the theater, suggested they cut that bit from the special.
Narrator: They did not, in fact, cut that from the special. They almost never do.
Our Take: Google “Iliza Shlesinger” and feminism and you’ll find for every hit that calls her a “devoted badass” and “nuanced,” there’s another that finds her brand “problematic.” In the past, even within the ranks of women in stand-up comedy, some have taken issue with things Shlesinger has said offstage about them in comparison to herself.
But where is she now on the issue? And where are we now?
All of that TikTok viewing has left her concerned about the commodification of feelings as facts on the increasingly popular platform during the pandemic. She doesn’t want “anyone who’s done their own research” getting more mileage online than the doctors and scientists who know the facts. She definitely doesn’t want to see the commodification of feminism appropriating language from black and/or queer culture to sell us merchandise. On this she skips right past “live laugh love” to illuminate just how horrifying it’d be to see and hear your supervisors saying “slay queen” or calling you a “boss bitch” in the workplace.
But she reserves her critiques for the men who serve up vitriol to women online every day. Shlesinger takes a moment to note that she wrote this hour before the Dobbs ruling striking down Roe v. Wade (or even what’s going on this fall in Iran), but adds that sadly, jokes about anger and violence directed toward women remain an evergreen topic. “I wish that women could speak to men in real life with the impunity with which you speak to us online,” she says. Instead, women are forced to deal with comments the same way she wishes men did before posting them: “Just scroll on by.”
She wants the men watching her comedy (though she admits at one point she might not have any luck changing minds of men older than (gulp) 30) to think about why women might not want to have sex with them. What puts the in in incel, anyhow? Shlesinger jokes that even bar mitzvah magicians score girlfriends, so if you can’t, that’s a sign from the universe that even Charles Darwin had figured out. “It’s evolution, baby.”
Will you stream or skip the comedy special #IlizaShlesinger: Hot Forever on @netflix? #SIOSI
— Decider (@decider) October 12, 2022

Our Call: STREAM IT. There might be one moment worthy of a trigger warning, although Shlesinger feels it’s important “because I have a microphone and we don’t talk about these things.” But for the most part, she’s still delivering what you might now have come to expect from her: A lively, tight hour fit for our times.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.
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