EXCLUSIVE: Just in time for the unveiling of her TBS late-night quiz show Separation Anxiety, comedian Iliza Shlesinger has signed with Weinstein Books for the spring 2017 publication of Girl Logic. Since winning season six of NBC’s Last Comic Standing (giving her extra bragging rights as the youngest comic and first woman to take the prize), Shlesinger has been a star of the club circuit as well as the expanding social media universe that’s also one of her favorite subjects. The compendium of essays and reminiscences promises, I’m told, to be “a humorous memoir explaining why women are so confusing to everyone, including themselves.”
The book will also include behind-the-scenes looks at comedy and television. “As a comedian and natural observer of human nature, a lot of my material has revolved around women’s thought processes, which are often contradictory,” says Shlesinger. “I’m excited to partner with Weinstein Books to tell my story and perhaps help readers – male and female – to understand how the minds of women are beautifully wired.”
In Separation Anxiety, couples are put in two different studios; one answers questions on a subject secretly chosen by the other. The one answering thinks he or she is competing for as much as $250, while the partner knows the true prize is as much as $250,000. Sample question: If you combined the postal codes for Louisiana and Idaho, what word would it spell? OK, so the reach isn’t high; it’s mostly an opportunity for Shlesinger and her hand-picked cohort Adam Ray to riff and for couples to squirm, holler, beg and otherwise look silly.
In her act, as well as on podcasts, streamed events and other social media, Shlesinger has been outspoken about how girls ands women should deal with issues in an increasingly hostile and exposing environment. That subject, she said in a telephone interview on Monday, also will inform Girl Logic.
DEADLINE: So you’re trading the glamor of one-night gigs in college towns for a game show and a book. Why a book?
SHLESINGER: My standup is quick, in-your-face aggressive. A couple of months ago I realized I do love writing and that some things are better expressed with pen and paper, things I wanted to say that are best expressed in a book, where I can be a bit more elegant. Girl Logic is personal essays and thoughts, and my take on the new feminism the way I see it. It will I hope give insight into the way girls think. And help them realize that being a girl is a very special thing, this beautiful mess that is a girl’s heart and brain. And it will be for guys as well.
DEADLINE: Will there be same-sex couples competing on the show?
SHLESINGER: Yes, and that’s one of the things I’m proudest of about it. TBS really gave me free rein. They came to me with the idea for the show as a platform for my voice. Gay rights is so much a part of the conversation, and I’m glad they were so forward thinking.
DEADLINE: What’s an example of the new feminism you’re talking about?
SHLESINGER: I think women are chastised constantly. We’re put down for being fat, we’re put down for being thin, for being ugly or being good looking. There’s very little women can do to not be called crazy or not be put down just for existing. People love the idea of a cat fight. The book is about saying we’re all on the same side. And this is for men too. It’s about standing up for yourself.
DEADLINE: Along those lines, you were critical of Bette Midler for Tweeting about Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie, and you said women shouldn’t be snarking other women for things they’ve all done themselves.
SHLESINGER: I don’t want to comment specifically on Bette Midler, I don’t know her. But it isn’t as if there’s anything women haven’t done before. I’ve done it myself and it takes some really introspective thinking to not have that knee-jerk reaction and put down other women. It really comes down your own insecurity. There’s no way you haven’t done any of the sex things that you’re putting another woman down for. Women have so little self-confidence. That’s not my problem. My problem is that I have too much self-confidence — or not that I have too much self-confidence, but I kind of just don’t give a fuck.
Amanda Murray of Weinstein Books/Perseus Books Group acquired North American publishing rights to Girl Logic for undisclosed terms. Shlesinger is repped by manager Kara Baker at Avalon, literary agent Brandi Bowles at Foundry Media, and APA for touring and theatrical.