Strip headliner Iliza Shlesinger knows how to play her cards

Updated July 6, 2018 - 4:45 pm

For Iliza Shlesinger, War is hell.

We’re talking about the card game.

“I was in my early 20s and thought it would be so cool to gamble with my friends,” Shlesinger recalls. “I got to the casino and lost $400 playing War. It was 3 in the morning and I had lost all my money. Like, all my funds for the month.”

Why did she pick War, a casino game totally devoid of skill?

“I didn’t pick the game,” she says. “Red Bull-vodka picked the game.”

With better funds and sharper focus, Shlesinger returns to the Mirage at 10 p.m. Saturday in the resort’s stellar Aces of Comedy headlining series.

Shlesinger is kicking off her Elder Millennial Tour, a promotional swing for her upcoming Netflix concert ts special of the same name premiering July 24. The comic actress is also due to appear in the film “Instant Family” with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne next year.

Though just 35, Shlesinger, is a stage vet with more than a decade of experience in Las Vegas. She has moved up to the Mirage stage after her first gig on the Strip in March 2008, when she won the NBC comedy contest “Last Comic Standing” at Paris Las Vegas.

In 2014, Shlesinger was among the headliner in in the “Lipshtick” series at The Venetian.

More notes, jokes and anecdotes from our recent phone chat:

Shlesinger has 35 minute of material just about Las Vegas: “It’s all about the Las Vegas experience, the bachelorette parties, the type of men who get cabanas, how the casino makes you feel, I go through an entire trip,” she says. “I ran it the last time I was there and people had a good sense of humor about it. I talked about what it’s like to fly to the desert to lose all your money, but still feel like a rock star.”

In that experience, we find … : “The women who are pool waitresses are another worldly species,” Shlesinger says. “They’re half-desert lizards. They never have sunburns. They never have wedgies. Hair is always perfectly done, never sweating and just endlessly bopping around, ‘I’ll be right with you, ladies!’ and I’m saying, ‘I need a grilled cheese! Get back here!’ They just look flawless while I’m sweating off my sunscreen and makeup.”

“Elder Millennial” was taped on a unique stage: “We shot it aboard the USS Hornet, a retired aircraft carrier in Alameda (Calif.),” Shlesinger says. “I’m a big supporter of the military, and we were in front of all these World War II and Korean War fighter planes. I’ve do a lot of USO shows and do whatever I can to support the military.”

Her audiences are there to see her: “At this point, people over the past couple of years are coming to see me, instead of when I first started when people were papering the room and giving tickets away,” she says. “People are already on my side. It’s one of the positives of doing this for a while, one of the few positives (laughs).”

Her charge at the Mirage is … : “To do a nice, tight hour, get ‘em laughing and send them on their way. Get ‘em back to the casino, gambling.” And she can name one game NOT to play.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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