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I TALK TO Liza Treyger

"We're all trying to let go of our parents' issues and move forward to be better."

With her own half-hour stand-up special on Netflix, New York based stand-up Liza Tryger is bringing her wit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year with her new show In The Weeds.

Speaking from her New York apartment, which she was only in for another week after experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning and racoons living in the roof, Liza gave me her first UK interview about her new show.

During our chat, which was Liza's first UK interview about the show, she discusses what audiences can expect from her first UK hour, the meaning behind the show's title and why she'd love to perform in the UK a lot more.

When did you first become aware of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I've known about it for a while because I did theatre in high school and although I wasn't in the production of Hamlet that went to the Fringe I heard how cool it was. So I've known about it forever but comedy wise, I'd probably been wanting to do it for the past four years but then every year I got to the application process and it was too annoying and I didn't pursue it.

But this year it finally all came together because I had producers and people do all the boring bad stuff for me. So that was kind of perfect. I'm also really excited about this year because I know a bunch of people that are going to be there and that always makes an experience better.

Who do you know?

People like Catherine Cohen, Sean Patton and my friend Colt Cabana who's a wrestler and has a show with John Hastings. And Emmy Blotnick who I'm going to be rooming with.

I also did the Melbourne comedy festival this past spring and I met Sarah Keyworth, Ed Night, Catherine Bohart, Rosie Jones, Jordan Brookes and a bunch of UK people, it was fun. And Fern Brady, but she doesn't party though and prefers to concentrate on her hour and that's a problem.

Have you performed in the UK before?

I did the comedy festival in Glasgow about six or seven years ago, before I even lived in New York and I've been to London a few times to visit but have only ever done a couple of bar shows.

My style of comedy is certainly different to what you're used to over there but I understand what the people want so I'm going to give them a narrative arc and a little emotional moment. So I'm excited to challenge myself in that way and trying something different.

What can people expect from your show?

I got dumped a couple of years ago, got really depressed and started doing therapy which made me realise all these shitty things about myself.

I woke up and felt like a cliché Bridget Jones. I've been living life to the fullest and all of a sudden it's caught up on me and I've got all these things to work on to be a better person so someone will marry me. Perhaps I haven't been able to find love in this world because I've been self-destructive.

We're all products of how we were raised and trying to get our bad patterns and habits away so I talk about being raised by foreign Russian parents in the States. We're all trying to let go of our parents' issues and move forward to be better.

And there'll be lots of opinions, jokes about drugs, feminism and I'll throw in some dirty stuff. There are a lot of jokes about porn. I also like to be in the moment so there's going to be some crowd work. I don't think any two shows are going to be the same. They'll have the same jokes but in different orders I think depending on the audience.

How long have you been working on the show for?

In the UK or internationally even, the focus for comedians on the circuit is to build to a special or Edinburgh. I feel like people come up with an idea for a show and then write that show. I've just been doing stand-up every night and then I did my Netflix half hour and then you just keep going until you're ready to do an hour. So for me the show just organically came out.

Once I got the opportunity to do Edinburgh I looked at my material, saw where it was all going and organically came up with a theme.

Why have you called the show In The Weeds?

I am addicted to weed and it's truly ruining my life. I make the wrong decisions constantly when it comes to drugs and I can't stops. So that's one reason.

Also it's a saying to explain how after all of my vices and self-destructive behaviour I feel like I'm drowning all of a sudden. I've been a cool young party girl for a long time and suddenly I don't fit into my pants anymore, my place is a mess and I don't leave the house for days at a time.

All the things that were cool and fun when I was young, I'm now drowning in and weed's at the centre of it all. I smoke weed every day. It numbs my emotions and keeps me blocked from the real world, it's like a crutch to not feel stuff. I really want to stop so that's how I came up with the name.

Who are you hoping will come and watch the show? Are you aware of an existing fanbase in the UK?

People have posted photos already having tickets to the show which is so cool. I really can't believe it. I'm just hoping people come, I don't really care who it is. I just want people to come and enjoy it and not be too drunk.

From September 15th I'm going to be going on a UK tour so I hope some cool people come and write nice things so that people come to that. But that's not as important as giving everyone a good show every night.

For me travelling is one of the best parts of this job so I would love for people to enjoy my show and my comedy so that I can come back to the UK more. I love that part of the world. I love cold weather, drinking so much with everyone, the accents, the arts. I just love it.

I want to be international and anyone who says they don't is an idiot.

Outside of the Fringe and the tour, what are you working on?

I've learnt that nothing is real until it's real. But I have just wrapped on the new Pete Davidson movie that Judd Apatow is directing in which I play a waitress. It was so fun and it felt so cool to be on one of his sets. It felt like a milestone in my life and it was my first movie so hopefully I won't get cut, we'll see!

Finally, how would you sum up this year's show in just five words?

Dirty. Honest. Sincere. Spontaneous. Interactive.

Liza Treyger: In The Weeds runs from 31st July - 26th August (not 13th) at 10.35pm at the Underbelly, Bristo Square (Buttercup). Book tickets here.


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