Powerhouse American Iliza Shlesinger has made six Netflix specials, but seeing her onscreen is absolutely nothing compared to seeing her at full throttle onstage.
On the first of two nights at the Apollo she absolutely blew the audience out of their seats with a sustained display of high-voltage comic ranting.
Shlesinger is currently pregnant, but she did not spend much time discussing motherhood – except to start by saying that that there is nothing cool about it. If you want to do a cringey little dance when your toddler uses the potty properly, do a dance, it's your choice.
In fact, choice is one of the topics of the show, Hard Feelings, which dwells on subjects ranging from cancel culture to body image and self-esteem.
On cancel culture, Shlesinger says if you don't like a stand-up's gags don't laugh and they will have to change. It is a simplistic analysis but delivered with unbending conviction.
And for this turbo-charged Texan few subjects are off limits. There is much teasing of men and their "protein shakes and push ups" but she will not joke about plastic surgery. Nobody, she argues, chooses to pay to resemble someone stuck in a wind tunnel – although she cannot resist a superb swipe about the recent trend for tiny noses. Eventually women will just have two air holes between their eyes, like iguanas.
Her main theme, however, is the way that women go to so much trouble to attract men. When will they realise that male standards are so low women do not need to pluck, shave and bleach? In Shlesinger's experience no man has ever rejected a woman because she has armpit stubble. Blame the patriarchy, publishing and social media.
Shlesinger is not the first person to observe this, but she sells her thesis so well it has the women in the audience whooping and the men joining in too, though maybe not so vociferously. And her physical humour – high-kicking, using the mic as a phallic prop, pretending to totter in imaginary high heels – earns her an extra star.
As the show builds, various ideas tie together in a blistering riff about Millennials and Gen Z, claiming that Millennials did all the groundwork for the following generation and deserve some respect. It is the definition of irony that while she critiques social media, this part of the show has recently gone viral on Tiktok.
Shlesinger is not breaking major new ground in terms of subject matter, but her material is bracing and relatable. Her skill is in articulating what others are thinking. If you like Katherine Ryan, Shlesinger covers similar terrain. Not always original, but still ferociously funny.
Eventim Apollo, December 8; eventimapollo.com