• Liza Treyger on Louis CK, TJ Miller: Being a comedian is a privilege, not a right

    Liza Treyger has a simple request to her colleagues: Stop touching women you barely know at work. She’s tired of dudes she doesn’t like kissing her on the cheek when she asks them not to or strangers rubbing her lower back. Treyger noticed a distinct shift in behavior after the 2016 election and was disappointed to learn that many of her comedy friends held some troubling positions on sexual abuse and racism. However, the star of Netflix’s stand-up series The Degenerates is trying to be more positive and go after what she wants instead of wasting her time getting into fights at the back of the Comedy Cellar. “It’s exhausting to be a bitch all the time…It’s not fun calling people out.”

    Laughspin’s Billy Procida spoke with Treyger at the Adult Entertainment Expo/AVN Awards for an episode of The Manwhore Podcast—part of which you can read below. In the full episode, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast apps, the Glittercheese comedian discusses her fluid sexuality, the orgasm gap between men and women, and predicts that 2019 will be the Year of Watersports!

    The below has been edited for content and clarity. To hear the full conversation, listen to Ep. 251 of The Manwhore Podcast.

    Why are you here at AVN?

    I’m a believer in you gotta just put things into the world that you want. I’m a big porn watcher and fan. I’m not just a casual fan. Most people I talk to who like porn don’t know the girls’ names or anything, but I watch the interviews. I read their interviews—I’m a super fan. So once Cardi B was going to perform—cuz I heard Lil Wayne was a disappointment last year—I know she’s going to bring it. I know it’s going to be hoes for hoes. So I was like, “I need to get over here and ask questions [to see Cardi B.]” And [the porn stars] always get asked the same questions. Even Brazzers, who I’m working with this weekend, was like, “Let’s do a spelling test with them!” I was like, “I’m not going to see if they can spell.” I don’t even know how to spell!

    They’re trying to be funny but I was like, that’s weird. Even when I’ve watched red carpet interviews, like this one for Abella Danger he’s like, “Can I grab your ass?” or it’s like, “What’s your favorite position?” and I just wanted to come and talk to them as a pervert fan but not be dismissive of them as people.

    They’ll be appreciative of that. There’s only so many times you can be asked, “Are your parents okay with it?”

    That’s also not a casual question! In what brain realm do you think it’s okay to go to someone and say, “What’s your relationship with your family?” That’s nuts! And they’re more than just the job. I think a lot of these porn dudes are fans that don’t realize that they go home. And I’m sure they’re super slutty—I follow Adriana Chechik’s OnlyFans page and they do wild stuff on there.

    So you pay for OnlyFans?

    I do! I pay for it! I also buy stuff from ManyVids and I have a subscription to Kink.com. But then, of course, I go on PornHub sometimes. It’s hard not to.

    So long as you’re paying for some of your porn. I was told by a friend in the industry that if everyone who watches porn—which is just about everyone—put just $100 a year into the industry, it would make a vast difference.

    Liza Treyger Ep. 251 The Manwhroe PodcastI hope I get to talk to Riley Reid this weekend. She has over a billion streams. Can you imagine if that was Drake or a YouTuber? The amount of money—I mean, obviously I think she’s doing well, but billions of people are jerking off to you and you aren’t making money off of that? That’s insane. That pisses me off.

    The number one question I’m going to ask this weekend is how everyone gets their pussies so smooth. Because they can’t wax, because you have to wait 3-4 weeks to rewax, and so they all shave, but I don’t know what they’re doing. All the girls in my life are like, “You need to find out.” They’re the smoothest shavers in the world!

    The AVN red carpet gig seems like a sweet one.

    It’s huge. It’s really my dream to do this. Me and my family, all we did was watch award shows and red carpet and buy the People magazines of the best dressed the next week. I always have loved it. It really is a huge honor and treat that I get to do it. But I hope I don’t fail under pressure. You know when you’re just too cocky, like, “Sure, I can do this,” but I’ve never done it before.

    I do all these comedy festivals and we all know each other, so I do feel a little bit like an outsider trying to be like, “Hey, guys!” It’s like their Just For Laughs or whatever. That’s why I’m so worried about being at the Brazzers booth where they’re like, “Pump people up!” It’s like, “They’re pumped up.”

    They’re ready. They don’t want this comedian coming on stage who’s not wearing pasties.

    I am wearing a see-through shirt but it is goofy, for sure, that I weaseled my way in here. They are paying me and I’m just like, “I hope this works out.”

    They’re going to see you go up there and go, “Who’s this goofy cam girl?”

    Yea. We’ll see! I am nervous to meet all these fans and ask them questions. I don’t know. It’s weird being on the outside for sure.

    When you go to comedy festivals—

    —I feel like the coolest person, because you know everyone. They’re all your friends—or you have your enemies, but whatever. Then everything’s catered for you. You’re running from show to show. You’re doing podcasts. There’s a panel here. Let’s do lunch over here. Let’s smoke weed in this room. So it’s kind of like summer camp. I describe Just For Laughs as summer camp. You know, we all live around the country and we’re traveling and all that, so we’re all together. The shows are not that strenuous. Even if you’re doing hours, it’s fun! It just feels really cool.

    Have you ever gotten into some crazy hijinks while at a comedy festival?

    I accidentally this past year, me and a few friends were going to go outside to smoke weed and I told a friend, “Oh come with us.” And this girl that I fucking hate came with us and I don’t know what came over me—it’s so embarrassing—in the elevator, I said, “I don’t understand why you’re coming with us.” And she was like, “What?” And I said, “I don’t like you and I think it’s weird that you’re here with my friends and I don’t want you here.” And she was like, “Well, too bad, bitch! I’m here and these are my friends, too. And I get to smoke if I want to.” I said, “Whatever. I’m just saying, I think it’s a weird choice for you to come.”

    Then when we went outside, there were like 40 people smoking weed. The fact that I was trying to keep her from it is ludicrous. Then when we were sitting there a few minutes, I turned to my friends and asked, “Was that weird?” And they were like, “Yea!” A couple of my friends went, “Oh, we thought you were kidding and you knew her.”

    So then I had to go apologize to her and that sucked. I always say sorry if I’m sorry. I was humiliated.

    Do you frequently get into beef with other comics?

    Yes. I am a shit stirrer—I mean, my goal this year is to talk less shit, but I definitely…I don’t know if it’s that, but if I don’t like you, don’t waste my time. Get away from me.

    I’d like to follow your Twitter @ replies.

    Yea, I’ve definitely fought on Twitter. That’s embarrassing, too. In person, it’s just like…there’s also a lot of misogynists and I feel like you’re not worth my time. Get away from me. Then there’s people that have fucked over my friends or were not nice or you just don’t trust them because they’re inauthentic. It’s like, I don’t want to be around you.

    How do you handle when you’re on a show with someone you fucking hate?

    It happens to me all the time. I’m a professional. I’ll host someone, bring ‘em up, give them a good intro. I’ll say, “Good job.” I don’t care. There are a couple guys that will switch around their sets to not be around me. One of the producers of this show was like, “Oh, well he’s going to be later, so can we switch you.” It’s like, no, I’m a professional. I can do whatever, I don’t care. If he cares, then that’s on him. I don’t understand why I have to cater to how this man feels at a show and you’re not even once asking why I don’t like him. And it’s because I stopped him from almost raping someone once. Stop trying to make me feel bad for hating these people. It’s like, I have to make sure they feel safe and cool, versus asking, “Hey, why do you hate this dude? Maybe we shouldn’t even fucking book him.”

    So I’ll be mean to him and give him dirty looks, but it’s not my responsibility to make him feel good. If you’re trying to switch me around for his emotions, he needs to grow up. We’re in a business. We will perform in front of people we don’t like and it’s fine.

    I’ve been in situations where I’m as close as we’re sitting right now and would not acknowledge someone. We would be in one tiny room. Everyone knows that we don’t get along. But I’ve smashed a lot of beefs with a lot of old school girls that I’ve known—I’ve been doing this for 10 years. When you start at 21, you do make enemies because you’re an idiot. You’re a young person. Then you grow up and you’re like, “Hey, how are you? How did that go? Congrats on that.”

    My friend had to tell me, “You think if you’re nice to someone, people are going to think you’re phony? No one’s going to think that. You’re at work. Think of some of these people as your co-workers.” That totally changed it. I just don’t want to be seen as inauthentic. You can just say hi to someone if you don’t like them. It’s fine.

    But my new kind of batch of people I’m not into is post-election Cellar crew “Louis did nothing wrong” type of people. There’s just a lot of cis white dudes that are just like, “Well, why didn’t she go to the police?” The election brought out points of view and opinions I didn’t think existed in a lot of the people I was friends with. All of a sudden it was like, “Wait, what? You think trans people are trying to trick you?” You know? All of a sudden you’re just like, “Oh, you don’t believe in equal pay? All right. I don’t want to be your friend.”

    You cut them off?

    Yea, I just don’t say hi. You’re not worth my time. I just don’t want to sit and argue with you. I’m sick of having to argue at the table with comics about humanity. I’m just sick of having to prove to you that feminism is necessary. Or like, that racism is real. I just don’t’ need another dude going, “There’s other factors of inequality but whiteness and maleness.” I just got sick of having to argue constantly with these dudes whose points of view are crazy.

    This is so minor, but it bothered me so much, but I walked into the comedy club and was like, “Oh my god, my doctor’s office was all black women. I couldn’t believe it. It was so fun. That’s amazing. I’ve never been in an office where everyone was a black woman.” And one guy was like, “Yea, because we’re all the worst. All the white guys are the worst. Thank god it’s not a white guy.” It’s like, this has nothing to do with you. And if you truly want to go to a white guy, 90% of New York is there for you. Also, mortality rates of black women at the hands of doctors is really high. So if they get to go to an office where they’re seen by people that relate to them and give them the time of the day and don’t think they’re lying, then yea. This is huge, great news. Why are you taking it as a personal slight to you? It’s just things like that.

    Or if someone gets something—a cool Netflix thing—it’s like, “Oh, well they were looking for gay. They were looking for something.” It’s like, no. They were funny. That’s the new stream of ‘get the fuck away from me.’ But one of the dudes I hate is my friend’s ex. It’s like, yea, I’m not going to like you. One producer was like, “It was really awesome you were nice to him. I just want you to know it meant a lot to him that you were great to him.” I don’t want him to feel good at all! I just hate that the lenses are out, like how I’m going to treat this person that did my friend dirty.

    So last year I watched every comedy special that came out in 2018. I watched 61 stand-up specials in about a month.

    Oh my god. So, Showtime, HBO, Comedy Central…

    Self-released, yea. All of it (I hate comedy right now). So when I did the Top 20 list for Laughspin, I put it out. I didn’t try to manufacture diversity into it—I just let funny and originality speak for itself. It just kind of ended up somewhat diverse naturally. My top five had only one white guy (Adam Sandler). But I was curious: What was the makeup of the top 20? I only had 5 women in the top 20. So I thought, “Well, how many stand-up specials came out from women?” I went into the spreadsheet, counted them up: eight.

    Five of the eight I put in the top 20. So really, women kind of crushed it in comedy based on ratio. And one of those specials was Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher’s Honeymoon Special, so it was kind of like a shared special. So don’t tell me they’re looking for more women. Yea! They need to! Eight specials out of 61! And one of them was Cameron Esposito’s, which was self-released.

    How many came from people of color? I think about 25%.

    There is a theory where if there’s just a few people that are of color, you’re automatically like, “Half of them!” It’s like: no, no, no. There’s still 20 white dudes going to JFL for New Faces. You know? There’s maybe more people of color than ever before, but it just looks crazy because it’s never happened. Also, they want a courtesy they’ve never given to anyone else. Now they’re complaining they’re not the ones the industry are looking for. But for decades, all these people have been complaining, “All my auditions are with accents.” Most of my auditions are just a girl going, “I’m fat and gross and like to eat and fuck.” It’s just so annoying. All my auditions have a line like, “Well, I’m not as beautiful as you.” It’s just so annoying. So everyone’s been telling you all this and you didn’t care. Now you want everyone to come up in arms because you didn’t get a Netflix-something.

    One guy was complaining, “Yea, they weren’t looking for white men for half-hours.” But there were still three white men in it. So maybe that’s why you didn’t get it, but these are the people you should hate, not the one black woman who got it.

    So that’s the type of people I’m just annoyed with and it bothers me. But I’ve been having a good time. I really want to stop gossiping. That’s one of my goals for 2019: stop talking shit, putting negativity into the world. Obviously, it’s hard in a friend group. You want to gossip, but thinking twice before saying something shitty.

    You said you don’t mind being a professional when you’re in a room with someone you don’t like. Now that we have all these stories of sexual assault or sexual misconduct coming out—I mean, we in the comedy community know about stuff no one’s talking about. No one’s talking about TJ Miller, still.

    That’s someone I had in my head, yea.

    So how do you, when you’re on a line-up with someone who is credibly accused of something like that, how do you handle those situations?

    I was going to do a show and the booker texted me saying, “Hey, T.J. Miller is going to come. So you might go up later.” I said, “I’m going to go up on the spot that I was booked at. I’m not being bumped by anyone, especially him. And honestly, I don’t even think he should be booked there.” And he immediately went, “You’re right. You’ll keep your spot.” He did go up after me, but I’m not fucking with my money to prove a point. A lot of people go, “Well, why are you still performing at the Comedy Cellar? Louis’s there.” I’m not gonna perform at the best club where it’s packed and make money because he’s there? How does that help me or any woman? If all the women or all the dudes who say, “Fuck you, Louis!” left, what good does that do? Then our perspective’s not even talked about. At least I get to go up there and do jokes that are against him or whatever. I don’t know. Or just be a breath of fresh air in a line-up that’s all dudes. I don’t want to stop performing there, but it is hard.

    I wish I had more guts sometimes. Sometimes I want to go up to someone and say, “Why aren’t you fucking talking about it?” But when I did see him, I didn’t do that. I just walked away. I just didn’t say anything. I just walked away.

    Louis C.K.?

    Yea.

    You mean, why aren’t you on stage talking about it?

    Yea!

    It is just ridiculous that he wasn’t talking about it when he first came back. It’s the masturbating elephant in the room! Put good PR or morality aside: diffuse that tension!

    Or just don’t come back. Some go, “What? Should he be gone forever?” No, but at least until he can fucking talk about it.

    Because if you can’t talk about it, did you actually learn anything?

    No, he didn’t. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He thinks he’s a victim of something and that he did nothing wrong.

    I genuinely thought he could have been an example of someone who messed up, doesn’t need to go to prison, learns what was wrong, and comes back after showing he’s changed. Then when I finally heard what he was dying to talk about—not judging it as a final product, but you can tell the direction it’s going in based on the premises—I’m like, “This is it?!” Because he’s brilliant enough he could have come back from this after a couple of years and made it poignant and hilarious and important and maybe a teaching moment. If anyone could do it, I thought it would be Louis C.K.

    Or [Dave] Chappelle. Because even Aziz [Ansari]’s material is all about PC culture and how people are too sensitive. No one wants to understand their behavior sucks, even if it’s not criminal. That’s what I keep telling people because a lot of the arguments are, “He’s not Harvey [Weinstein.]” No one’s saying he’s Harvey. Just because someone doesn’t want to get raped in the street doesn’t mean they want their lower back touched at work. I don’t understand why it has to be the worst case to go, “Can you just stop?” One of my friends said, “This is probably who he actually is, now, and he was just hiding it.”

    And he’s going to sell out. He’s going to go on tour and sell out. And that’s another layer to this that pisses me off. Wait, do accusations and all of this ruin men’s lives or is he going to continue to work and sell out and no one gives a fuck? That’s what pisses me off. You’re pretending to be a victim and you’re still going to make millions of dollars. No one’s leaving the Cellar shows. People are coming and they’re not leaving.

    I hope more dudes in comedy are thinking about how they interact with women in the industry after all this.

    So, I’ll get hugged, let’s say. And then all of a sudden it’s, “Oh #MeToo. Can I hug you?” Fuck you for diminishing what this truly is. But also, if you’re so scared, don’t fucking hug me. No one will be mad if you’re not hugging us. People have hugged me who say my name wrong, who will then kiss me on my cheek and it’s like, “We’ve never even hung out. Why would you do this?” It’s so weird. The touching is so annoying. I hate getting kissed on my cheek by any loose lunatic.

    Then dudes take it personal. That’s what’s annoying, too. You can’t even just tell them the boundaries. It’s like, “Why don’t you just say no?” It’s because men truly can’t handle it. This one dude kissed me on my cheek and I said, “Oh, I don’t really like that.” And he was like, “Oh, right? You think you’re so much better than me?” No, it’s not that I think I’m better. This is about me. He goes, “Fine, then I won’t even touch you. I’m not even going to say hi.” Like, truly flipped out at me at New York Comedy Club. So then—I always try to avoid him—so this last time I was at Gotham [Comedy Club] and I saw him coming and I knew he was going to hug me. He’s always touching me. So I turned towards the bar so my angle—he hugged me from behind, hugged me on stage when he brought me up. It’s like, we’re not friends at all. I will hug my friends. It’s like, “Why are you hugging me? I don’t fucking like you or know you and I’ve asked you to not.” So then, after my set, I’m sitting and I see him coming towards me. He kisses me on my cheek and I sighed. So he went, “Oh yea, you don’t like that. Well, you know what, Liza? There’s one of you and hundreds of women, so I can’t keep track.” It’s like, you knew I didn’t like it! There’s no way you remembered after you did it that I didn’t like it.

    Yea, I should be meaner, but I said this recently on another podcast: It’s just exhausting to be a bitch all the time. It sucks always being on the defensive and always seeing what’s wrong and having fights. It’s not fun. It’s not fun calling people out. It’s not an enjoyable thing. So it’s like, fine, I’m not going to say something this time. I’m not in the mood to get yelled at or flip out or make an issue out of something.

    How does that make you feel?

    It’s annoying! There was a regular, a comedy fan, and we were sitting and he was rubbing my lower back. And I hated it. And while I was sitting I was like, “I should just tell him to stop.” And I didn’t say anything to him. It just doesn’t seem worth it a lot of the time. And it’s exhausting. Sometimes you just shut down.

    Does it just get to be too much at times? Do you ever go, “I just don’t want to go do that spot.”

    Glittercheese album cover with Liza Treyger

    No. Not, “I don’t want to go do that spot.” But I definitely haven’t been back to New York [Comedy Club] in a few weeks. Even the booker at the Cellar called us and said, “Louis’s going to be on your show. How do you feel about that?” It’s like, well, I don’t want to say something and then I get fucked with. I just don’t want that. I waited till we were in person and I talked to her about it. I was just like, “So if I said I was uncomfortable, you would have not booked him?” and she said, “Absolutely.” I don’t buy it, but okay. But also, who’s she gonna pick? Because what she’s been doing is moving people to the other club. I just can’t believe we’re catering so much to this dude.

    Because you don’t need the Louis C.K. drop-in. People go to the Cellar because they know famous people drop in, not because it’s Louis. It could be Jerry Seinfeld; it could be Amy Schumer; it could be Chris Rock.

    Yea, that’s what pisses me off. Just rent a theater and sell it out. I feel being rich and famous fucks with your brain. Most famous people are pretty weird and they don’t understand the world around them. Like, we’re supposed to feel bad about a dude who has a four-story home in Manhattan and a summer home and a boat. Like, excuse me? Okay. “What if he never gets to work again?” I’m supposed to feel bad for him? Are you out of your fucking mind? If it was a cook at the comedy club, I’m sure no one would be rallying around him. I have to feel bad for this dude who won’t take any accountability and is a millionaire? All right.

    Also, doing comedy and being successful, famous, or well-known or being able to just do it for a living is a privilege. You’re not entitled to it. It’s not a right just because you got to do it. It’s a fear that I constantly have that one day I might have to be a salon receptionist. You have to enjoy it, but we are not entitled to be professional comedians. Truly, it’s a gift. To make it seem like he suddenly lost his life—nope. You’re not entitled to be famous. Go away. I don’t understand.

    And maybe one day I’ll bite my tongue and I’ll do something terrible.

    Billy Procida

    Laughspin editor-in-chief Billy Procida is a stand-up comedian in New York City. He hosts The Manwhore Podcast where he talks to women he's hooked up with about sex, dating, and why they didn't work out. Reach him on Twitter.

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