It's time for Edinburgh Fringe reflections, and one of the most memorable stand-up shows we saw this year was a late one, over at an unpretentious little room called Buttercup. That sweet venue name didn't really suit this particular show, though, as Liza Treyger marched in and rattled through everything from drugs and TV addictions to a lengthy look at porn; all splendidly candid but refreshingly freeform.
The Ukraine-born, now New York-based comic has a burgeoning following back home, and - if the very excited young fan sitting next to FGWG was any indication - a keen one here too. That fan had picked up on Treyger via podcasts, while she also had a recurring role in Louis CK's dramady Horace and Pete, popped up on loads of TV shows that are probably a big deal back home, and did a special for Comedy Central.
And now she sets off on a European tour, to glamorous UK locations like Southend first, then Athens and Antwerp and the like. So how is she feeling about it? Nervous? Excited? Confused?
"I'm super pumped," she says. "I can't wait to run around and see so many things and I can't believe people would come. I hope they come? Ahhh. I really want to focus on not overpacking. I'm scared of getting lost. I'm pumped to see things and perform and I hope people have a good time and laugh. It's a dream really to be able to do this."
To do First Gig, Worst Gig? Ah, to tour - got it. Still, she sounds pretty pumped about this trip down memory lane too...
Well, like, when I think 'gig' I think 'booked on a show' not an open-mic or first time on stage, yes? So, there's two answers.
The first official show was this place called The Edge and it was like a scam show, lol. Like a bringer show and super overpriced for, like, very new comics: I was a month or so in, like nobody should be paying $15 to see that. You should be like, paying people to watch you, honestly, that early on.
So I like to count this show at the Hungry Brain by my pal Brandon Wetherbee, it's still one of my favourite bars and spots ever and he is cool too. The bar has great old furniture and it was light as hell but I was very happy to be there!
Favourite show, ever?
Hmmmmmmmm. This is hard. Recently I headlined a weekend in New York at Gotham Comedy Club, and that felt like a huge deal and milestone in my life.
In Jamestown New York, for Lucy Fest, which is a great town and time and festival but one show this dude just hated me so much. He came to the show the night before, and I have a Q&A part of a joke that sets up for a long series of jokes, and he just ruined it and yelled out the answer and put his thumbs down and booed me and said I sucked and kept giving me shit and it's like, 'what the fuck bro?' I hated him and then didn't handle it well and then cried after.
Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?
I'd say Hannibal Buress. He was already not living in Chicago when I started but his work ethic was legendary and everyone talked about how he would do shows anywhere, like, laundry rooms. He would finish big gigs and then go to an open mic. And I was a few months into comedy and saw him at Zanies and then I went to an open mic and he was there, and that's when I was like 'oh, you have to do everything.' Music gigs, middle of the night, to no people, like, take the gig.
I like to vacation I think maybe more.
And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?
Ugh, so many. I hate one the most but I'm annoyed to even have to write about him because he sucks on so many levels and it's like 'no thanks I'm busy.' But I'm also a shit talker so it's hard.
I hate his opinions and even more I hate that I don't think he believes in them, he just likes to get a rise out of people and then be like 'ugh, why are you offended, freedom of speech?' and it's like 'you're literally the status quo'. He is void of a personality so he just wants to debate all the time. Barf. He's a fraud.
Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?
Yeah for sure but I keep trying till I figure it out. I have some jokes that I've been trying for like a decade. If I believe in it I'll keep trying.
I imagine some of the tour locations are new to you? What do you picture when you hear 'Southend' and 'Salford'?
I mean, I feel like nautical towns is what comes to mind, but I doubt that will happen. Countrysides? I'm thrilled. Pubs and fish 'n' chips?
Are there particular reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions that stick in the mind?
One time a woman in the front row stood up and handed me a business card and said 'if you ever decide to fix your hair...'
How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?
I'm thrilled and loving life. There's an inspirational quote meme that says something like 'think about all the things you have that you dreamt of' or something. Like, I can't believe everything I've gotten to do and am doing. I'd love to be rich but, hey... I want tonnes of cash.