If anyone can find the funny in the dating arena, it’s comedian Iliza Shlesinger. The feisty (and foxy!) “Last Comic Standing” champ is at the helm of a brand new dating show where she witnesses brave singles trying to win over the opposite sex and not get “Excused” in the process. We visited Iliza on the set of “Excused,” premiering September 12, to find out what’s happening with these dating hopefuls.
“It’s a show about eliminating someone based on a first impression, and then later on a second impression. People come to the front door of a mansion, I sit with either two girls or two guys inside, and people try to make it through the front door. They get excused or not excused at that point based on how they act, what they say or even how they look. Then, there are excusals throughout the day. There’s also a lot of table turning, twists and, of course, comedy!”
This was really the perfect gig for Iliza, who gets the chance to do what she does best. “They were giving me creative license to just be funny. As a standup comic, we are used to being able to say whatever we want to say, and here I get to make the jokes I want to make. I get a chance to really be funny.”
Besides making everyone laugh, she has also had hours to observe how both men and women act when it comes to dating. So what’s the biggest mistake men make on the show? “If you want a quality girl, one of the worst things you can do is flaunt your material possessions. I have seen guys who try too hard, make up stories, or portray themselves in a certain light. I know this may sound trite — but just be yourself. Girls really do gravitate towards that. Nice guys do finish last sometimes, but you will be surprised how far just being nice and sweet will get you.”
Iliza has a few choice words for the women out there as well, who aren’t afraid to reveal their gold-digging side. “Stop saying you are looking for a guy with money. No guy wants to hear that. I don’t know if they think that makes them seem cute or classy, but no guy wants to hear about how you want to spend his money. It’s unattractive.”
The biggest surprise in taping the show (besides how crazy some contestants act when they get excused) is that there are a lot of genuinely nice people not just looking to be on TV but also hoping to find someone great. “I always thought most young people were shallow –and I’m proven wrong a couple times a week. There are people who really take it seriously. We get people from all walks of life, and people who tell me, ‘I am looking for love and this show looks like a lot of fun.’ “
Real love connections have been made on the show, but for those who don’t, every contestant gets a free membership with the online dating site Jazzed. Producers of the show, who also created “Blind Date,” were very excited about this online component. This may be the first time viewers who watch “Excused” and see someone they like can actually find that person on Jazzed – something that wasn’t available back in the “Blind Date” days.
For Iliza, the show is ultimately an opportunity to entertain everyone. “You might learn what not to do, but the most important thing is you’ll laugh — and I’m here to usher you through it!”
She also gets to spend all day with her precious fur-baby Blanche, a permanent fixture on the set (who also appears on the show from time to time). Blanche doesn’t have a Jazzed profile, but if she did, Iliza said it would reveal that she loves to eat dried up worms, bits of muffin, her green bone and flirt with boys.