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Liza Treyger On Always Speaking Your Mind

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As people who care deeply about many things in this world (inequity, climate change, diversity, you get the idea), we could definitely learn to give less of a sh*t about other stuff — like whether or not people get offended by what we say and do. Enter: Liza Treyger. The hilarious comedian, unapologetic straight talker, and abider of many a bubbe meise joins Rebecca and Amy to talk about the rewards (and risks) of speaking freely and the double standard for men vs women. Also covered: why you’ll never see her at a baby shower.

In terms of informing comedy, like, the more outside you are, the better insight you have, in storytelling or anything like that. Being an outsider always helps. That’s why all the white dudes are all doing the same trans joke they have. They have no way to see themselves.

Liza Treyger

Make sure to check out our guide on How To Speak Your Mind Like Liza Treyger.

An Edited Transcript of Our Convo:

Amy S. Choi: You are listening to The Mash-Up Americans.

Hey, I am Amy Choi.

Rebecca Lehrer: And I’m Rebecca Lehrer. And we are the Mashup Americans. And you know what? Amy?

Amy S. Choi: Yes, Rebecca.

Rebecca Lehrer: I am in need of a serious laugh.

Amy S. Choi: Yeah.

Rebecca Lehrer: I mean, I love to laugh all the time, but I’m in need of serious business laughs as a job. So luckily you’re easy to make laugh. That’s a good one.

Amy S. Choi: I’m a cheap laugh. I’m an easy one.

Rebecca Lehrer: I mean, at least for me, I’m like, “Oh, who’s the funniest person around? Got to be me.”

Amy S. Choi: That is you. Well, what is nice about this podcast is we get to handpick everybody who’s on it so we can choose people who are going to make us laugh.

Rebecca Lehrer: That is very true. And the person we handpicked to be on the pod is someone who makes me laugh all the time. That’s Liza Treyger, Glitter Cheese on the internet. And have you ever seen the bit where she talks about buying her dad a Faberge egg?

Amy S. Choi: Oh God, yes. Because this is the most relatable content when she’s like, “My immigrant parents, they bought a house, but I bought my dad a Faberge egg.”

Rebecca Lehrer: We’re just off base. You know what I mean? We’re just like what a [inaudible 00:01:24] off.

Amy S. Choi: I mean, live, laugh, love. Well, Liza is a Russian Jewish mashup who immigrated as a kid to the Midwest. She was like my suburban neighbor in Chicago. She’s a standup comedian, a feminist, and just someone who we truly delight in because she says all the things we wish we could say. I just want to stand up and cheer during her standup, which you can find her special Glitter Cheese on Comedy Central. She’s part of the Degenerate special on Netflix, and she’s also the host of That’s Messed Up and SVU podcast. Dun dun dun.

Rebecca Lehrer: I don’t know. Dun dun. My parents used to call that. They’d be like, “Oh look, Dun Dun,” is on. She also has some of the world’s greatest Boba [inaudible 00:02:06], which we respect. And this is truly part of our ultimate guide to a Mash-Up life. The wisdom from our elders comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, and some of it includes never putting your bag on the floor. Literally never.

Amy S. Choi: Wow. I really laughed hard. Here’s Liza.

We have been thinking and loving your work about how freeing it is to listen to you and laugh. Like literally, actually, it wasn’t even a laughter, but a scream, erupting from my body at some points and the freedom. I get to feel how good it feels to be bad. And I think that you have an incredible gift for making the spirit of rebellion feel so alive and good, and we can fucking all do it. We can all say these things if we just listen and laugh hard enough to you. And so we want to just say, we’re huge fans and we love that, and that’s why we came to you.

Liza Treyger: There are consequences to speaking your mind. That’s the thing. Everyone is like, “Oh my God, I love that. You just say it like it is.” And it’s like, “Yeah, a lot of people do not like me.” You know what I mean? I bother people. Conflict isn’t always easy or what people say to you. So it’s like there are… But I ran into a girl from high school that I hadn’t seen since high school. She was at my show in Phoenix, and she told me, she goes, “You always spoke your mind.” She goes, “When I found out you were doing comedy, I wasn’t shocked.” And I liked hearing that.

Amy S. Choi: Okay, so if you brought up high school, take us back to the beginning. It doesn’t surprise anybody that you became a comedian. Why? What’s the genesis of Liza?

Liza Treyger: Just this one girl… My mom has this, but I do have this sense of justice and not minding my own business, getting involved in things I shouldn’t, thinking things are unfair or fucked, and I just never really had a filter. And I was always talking and being annoyed at something or someone. And then on a fun note at the basketball sleepovers or hangouts or swim team, I was the one that stayed up the latest, setting the silliest things, happy to be the butt of the joke. I brought a lot of fun to the sleepovers, I would say. So that’s the good element. And then the bad element is I would be like, “Go yourself.”

Amy S. Choi: How old were you when you moved to the States?

Liza Treyger: So I was young. I was three years old. And so we’re Russian Jews… Now it’s present day Ukraine. I’m from Odessa on the Black Sea. And so we did the Russian Jew journey. A lot of us came in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. So we did Italy and Austria and then came to Chicago and it was a really Jew-y area, obviously, who brought us the Jewish United Fund. So my sister went to a Jewish school. I ended up not, thank God just for a little bit I did. So a Jew-y area. And then we moved to Skokie and Skokie after World War II had the largest population of Jews outside of Israel. So the Nazis would come march. There’s a famous Nazi march.

Amy S. Choi: Always. Every year, the KKK march in Skokie.

Liza Treyger: So as a kid we would have to talk about free speech and the KKK and the KKK would come, and it was kind of a part of the Skokie background. So I feel lucky because Skokie was so diverse and so amazing. And I just met up with… Because of comedy, I do get to see people from high school often, which is fun because I travel so much. And I was talking to this girl and she ended up going to Duke, Yale, Harvard Fellowship. She’s just really smart. And she goes, “I didn’t realize how lucky we were to be in Skokie until I went to these super white elitist places.” She’s like, “I’ve never been…” Because she’s Black and she was just like, “I never…” I don’t know about never. But yeah, we were just talking about how Skokie was… I’m so glad I grew up there.

Amy S. Choi: I’m curious with the career that you’ve built, and this kind of, I don’t know, it feels gross to say it, but your comedy brand, your comedy style of being out and being out there, being able to say all the things and dealing with all the conflict, you said that there’s a lot of things that are hard about that. So what is hard? What does it feel like when you feel like you’re doing your time or…

Liza Treyger: Oh, on stage I don’t really think a lot about it. I just do what I want on stage and it feels great. And I guess the thing is sometimes people won’t like you, but that’s for all comedians, I think.

Amy S. Choi: Also for all people, especially in show business, but also just all people.

Liza Treyger: 100%.

Amy S. Choi: Yeah.

Liza Treyger: There is just a benefit of the doubt. If you are a dude that is not given to the… There are dudes when you walk out that are not happy to be there. The girls have brought them. And then 90% of them by the end are leaning, they’re smiling, they can’t even believe they want to hear a woman talk. They just can’t. But they love it. And then they’re like, “Whoa.” But then sometimes it’s just like the energy is crossed arms, they just hate that you’re up there so much. And I usually kick them out. They don’t have to say anything. I’m like, “Your energy’s actually bothering me and I need you to leave.”

Amy S. Choi: Wow.

Liza Treyger: And then that’s it. Because you can’t ruin my fun

Amy S. Choi: The way that I would love to do that 100% of the time of my life.

Liza Treyger: And it just bothers me a lot of, I have a podcast with my friend Kara, That’s Messed up, an SVU podcast-

Amy S. Choi: Yes.

Liza Treyger: … And the girlies that come to our live show, they’re just so happy to be there. And I always get really sad when their partners can’t get it up for them.

Amy S. Choi: Yeah.

Liza Treyger: For me, I could go to a sport… I love going to sporting events. I like doing things, but I can go to a concert that’s not my musical taste and have fun for my friend or my person or enjoy things. And I get sad when I see dudes that their women being excited, they want to ruin it. They’re mad to even be there. And that always upsets me.

Amy S. Choi: I’ve not yet gotten to see you live, but seeing your specials and clips, your crowd work is so wonderful and you’re just going in at it. And that’s part of… It’s that high wire electricity, that high wire act where you’re like, “Ah, what’s going to happen?”

Liza Treyger: Yeah. When you go into a room, there are people that you are ignoring and they are ignoring you. So it’s just like you have to be okay with going into a room and knowing there’s going to be uncomfortable energy because you fought with tons of people. And I think it happened more after 2016, but truly, I got radicalized into feminism very young. Very early on, I was like, not fair. I don’t like what’s happening here. Both my mom and dad work, but my mom is also driving us to school, making all our food, cleaning… Right away. I knew the world was. I just saw it in a way and I didn’t like it. So I’ve been having this argument with men forever, and it’s something I care about and I want them to be smarter about rape shit or I just want them to understand. And eventually you get tired because they’ll never grow or listen and they don’t care.

But especially after 2016, I would sit at these clubs in New York and I would argue with these dudes and be like, “Do you not understand what’s happening here?” And of course, years later I saw one of them and he goes, “You really went nuts, but I guess you were right.” And I go, “Yeah, of course I was fucking right, you idiots.”

Rebecca Lehrer: Well, that’s like the second half of your Degenerate special, which is on Netflix for everyone to watch. It’s so precisely for us. And you can feel the men in the room are like, “Whoosh.”

Liza Treyger: Shifting?

Rebecca Lehrer: You feel the shift, but you’re like, “You have no purpose here. You don’t do anything. What is the point of you?” And I think that there’s… As I was watching it and sending Amy my live tweets, because I don’t tweet, I just send her my thoughts. And it was a similar feeling like, oh, you’re going to love. It’s exactly the feeling. But to say it in a group, and we’re pretty unafraid people. We have a very strong energy that… I like to say. People always think I’m a lot taller than I am because I have a very tall, tall energy.

Amy S. Choi: “Looks like she’s six feet tall right now”

Rebecca Lehrer: Yeah. They’re like, “Is she 5’11”?” I’m like, “No, 5’6.5″ but thank you.” But I think as women as immigrants or children of immigrants, it’s something we’re conditioned to not be, we’re taught to do the right thing, but there’s something here where you’re like, “This is the right thing. I’m also taught to advocate for people.”

Liza Treyger: And that bothers me. Usually the dudes and that group of dudes that love comedy that are like, “You should be able to say whatever you want, man. You see, culture sucks. Why is everyone offended?” And they can’t fucking handle even a second. They can’t handle a second of being made fun of at all. They are pissed. They will send an email. They will try to get my weekends canceled. These dudes, they can’t handle any of it. They can make fun of women and their girlfriends all day long. And the moment you touch on them, they really… Not all, they really collapse. And you can see in the audience of that taping, they cross their arms. The women are cackling. If you take a screenshot and the men are all crossed arms, and it’s like, “I’m objectively funny right now, why are you so upset?”

Amy S. Choi: Yeah.

Rebecca Lehrer: Well, I think that there’s actually something that you said in, I think it was in Degenerates where you were like, “Not all men, there are of course good men, but if you feel threatened or uncomfortable right now, that’s you telling yourself that you’re a bad man. You know. You know that you’re not one of the good ones if this is making you feel like shit.”

Liza Treyger: No, they’re all so delusional. I was with one guy backstage once, and he is like, “I wonder if Handmaid’s Tale was real, if I would be one of the good guys.” And I quickly went, “You wouldn’t.” And he was shocked. He couldn’t believe it. He was like, “What?” And I go, “Are you kidding me? If the rule of law became fascist patriarchy, you think you’re going to risk your life for women. I mean, come on, grow up. You would never. You hardly advocate for women. Now you’re defending really bad people and you married a woman half your age. I don’t know. I don’t trust you.” But they do not… They see themselves very much removed from who they think bad guys are. It’s really, it’s funny.

Amy S. Choi: Do you ever get the way that we can say, “Oh, if you get that twinge in your stomach, or if you feel that discomfort, you know that you’re in the wrong… You’re wrong.” Even if you’re sitting there with your arms crossed, there’s something in you that’s telling you that you are not doing the right thing. Do you ever get that feeling or does that ever happen to you?

Liza Treyger: Well, not publicly, but what’s popping through my head is my friend said something to me that was too real, but honest. It’s something I need to work on as a person. But when she said it, I fully shut down and was pissed. And then I was at her in my head for days. But it was true. It’s like, “Oh yeah, I have to actually work on this and I have it, and I’ve been avoiding it, and now there I can’t even respond to you because you were so right.” But yeah.

Rebecca Lehrer: Do your parents enjoy your comedy?

Liza Treyger: They don’t really speak English, which works for me. It’s dirty. But I think sometimes they just don’t bring it up. They just watch stuff and they like me making my dreams come true, but they’re immigrant… My dad will never say something nice to me. He’ll tell the neighbor, but not me.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, that’s a classic.

Rebecca Lehrer: Have you been in the Russians in America newspaper yet? And they’re proud of you? And then that’s where real pride happens.

Liza Treyger: They love me in print. But you know what? I’ve not done a Russian one and I should actually get on that. This is… That’s interesting. I’m grabbing my phone. I’m like, I need to get on a Russian paper. No, they’re like any sort of magazine paper. I’ve given them a lot of hardware. I would say. I think about them. Yeah.

Rebecca Lehrer: I think one of the things that we love and are always wrestling with, but just is… Where it comes out trite. Like, “Everyone be your whole self,” or , “Be your authentic self,” whatever. But this sort of butting up against some of the expectations of us, but actually it’s just fully who all of us are. You’re like, “I don’t know why you thought I would be polite in this circumstance. I’m never really that way.” Or why you thought I wouldn’t be sexual or want all these things. You made that story up about me. But I think there’s something, again, for us as immigrants or as Jews, as Koreans, I say “us” Amy, and I joke a lot about my-

Amy S. Choi: We’re both Korean.

Rebecca Lehrer: … Uncomfortable line that we’ve both crossed with sharing each other’s identities is that there’s a lot of expectation that we are a certain way. But I think trying to think about what the softness and hardness or the ways that we are enjoying putting people on edge sometimes. And we just both watched Joyride, which I don’t know if you’ve seen it.

Liza Treyger: I loved it. So good.

Amy S. Choi: Loved it.

Liza Treyger: Yeah, I really loved it.

Rebecca Lehrer: The two basketball boys getting a concussion, both getting her head at the same… I just… the incredible joy I felt through watching Joyride and the Coke Bag, just every single moment of it was so good.

Amy S. Choi: And I think what Rebecca is getting at here is that there’s this… It feels like there have been the pioneers, there’s Joan Rivers, there’s Margaret Cho, all of these women that have been kind of the icon of bold, say what you feel, sexual just out there, women and comedians, and that there’s now, or it feels like this new generation of mashy women artists who are getting to make big movies who are getting their Netflix specials and that are just enjoying being bad.

Liza Treyger: I also love the explosion… Some people don’t, but I also like girl comics dressing ultra feminine and kind of slutty and revealing. I’m really into that because for so long I think it was like, “Don’t show your shit, don’t be this, dress like a man.” And it was grungy and it’s like, “What the fuck?” So when I see cool girls dressed hot on stage, I’m like, “Fuck yeah, I love that.” That makes me happy.

Rebecca Lehrer: Well, one of the things we wanted to cover with you, which is really important to us is superstitions. We are so superstitious and we have a whole series on bubbe meises, like grandmother tales, and you talk a bit about this in your work about Russian, Jewish superstitions. First of all, I’d like to parse out, is it Russian Jewish? Is it Soviet? Where are these superstitions come from, and can you give us a few of the ones that you have to keep in your house that are part of your day-to-day?

Liza Treyger: I don’t know where they come from. I think just like any culture that comes out of war, struggle, poverty, you got to look to something so you’re just making things up. But I never know what part of it is Jewish versus old world Soviet or yiddish, I never know where any of it comes from, and some of it I think is specific to my family. I don’t know.

The ones that are huge for me are if I leave the house, I forget something and I come back in. I always look in the mirror before I leave. That’s important. I don’t hug in a doorway.

Amy S. Choi: What happens if you don’t?

Liza Treyger: You die. I’ve never even fucked around with that, you know what I mean? But I’ll tell my sister and she’ll be like, “Shut up.” She’s just kind of not into that. I don’t cheers with water, but I’ve started to chill out on that because it’s just too… There’s sober people, they deserve a cheers. But in my house, if you don’t drink, you would get a cheers up to your nose. But…

Amy S. Choi: I love that, a cheers to the nose.

Liza Treyger: I also always show my pocket to a crescent moon for prosperity.

Rebecca Lehrer: That is so interesting. I realized I don’t do that, but just naturally, anytime I see a beautiful moon, I go outside and in the evening to even just take the trash out, I find myself doing a whole weird routine with the moon. I’ll be like, “See you.” I literally do that by myself. Maybe this is a…

Amy S. Choi: She just kisses the air guys. She just [inaudible 00:19:16].

Rebecca Lehrer: Yeah, just kissing the air and then bringing it back in. Maybe this is something that I sort of knew in me, the Ukrainian Jews within me were…

Amy S. Choi: Wait, so, that brings you to prosperity.

Liza Treyger: Cool. Yeah.

Amy S. Choi: Interesting.

Rebecca Lehrer: For Amy, well, do you want to tell her about Korean fan death? Just to give her some more?

Amy S. Choi: Oh, well, you can’t sleep with the fan on at night because you will die.

Liza Treyger: I sleep with a fan on all the time, and it might be why I’m sick, honestly.

Amy S. Choi: I mean, it also could be that this fan death only applies to Korean people, so I think that that is one of them. What are some of the other ones?

Rebecca Lehrer: Mine is you can’t put your bag on the floor because your money will run away.

Liza Treyger: 100%, I never put my bag on the floor. That’s another one I do.

Rebecca Lehrer: Yeah. Never.

Amy S. Choi: You can’t clink your silverware or tableware against the plates because you’ll scare all the angels and good spirits away.

Rebecca Lehrer: That seems obvious.

Liza Treyger: I don’t do that, but that makes sense.

Amy S. Choi: Yeah, it makes sense. Right?

Rebecca Lehrer: The angels don’t like noises like that.

Amy S. Choi: No, they don’t. It’s so harsh. So harsh. What are some of the other ones? Our Taiwanese friend has said that you can never get shoes as a gift because that person will run away from you.

Liza Treyger: Ooh, wow.

Amy S. Choi: Right.

Rebecca Lehrer: There’s a lot of symbolism.

Amy S. Choi: It also feels logical. Also feels logical.

Rebecca Lehrer: Yeah, it feels really logical.

Amy S. Choi: I did like the one that I had never heard before that I learned from you, which was the don’t ever step over anyone’s legs because then they’ll never grow.

Liza Treyger: Yeah.

Rebecca Lehrer: The problem is once you know them and you’re like, “Oh, this is so silly.” But then you can’t-

Amy S. Choi: You can never unknow them.

Rebecca Lehrer: … You cannot not do them. And then you’re like, “Well, I’m not going to not open my pocket to a crescent moon. What do I know? I don’t know more than anyone.”

Liza Treyger: No, but the gift thing, yeah, we also don’t do anything sharp. No knives as gifts and no watches for some reason. And if you give a purse or a wallet, you have to put money in it for good luck, that you can never spend.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, you can’t spend the money that comes in it?

Liza Treyger: No, absolutely not. You put it in a little pocket.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, this is maybe, Rebecca, this is maybe how I’ve fallen down in life.

Liza Treyger: You spent your good luck money.

Amy S. Choi: I spent my good luck money. I was like, “Woo, there’s $2 in here.”

Rebecca Lehrer: How much is too little money that would actually be rude. And now you’re like, “Not only is this not good luck, but you’re-“

Amy S. Choi: It’s tacky.

Rebecca Lehrer: “… You’re tacky.”

Liza Treyger: Oh, $1 is fine. Really, it’s not about the amount. I think, yeah, a dollar is totally fine.

Rebecca Lehrer: Okay. Thank you. We’re going to be making this list.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, wow. I really learned a lot today.

Liza Treyger: Yeah. I’m just so American that sometimes I do try to be like, “You don’t need to do this. You can have…” but I can’t. I don’t celebrate my birthday until it happens. If it’s on a Wednesday, I’m not going to have a party this Saturday before because it’s convenient. Absolutely not. After only.

Rebecca Lehrer: Oh, you know what? As a superstitious Jew, especially around having babies, I was like, I mean, really to the max. I went to some birthing class or whatever, and this terrible lady was asking everybody what they were naming the babies. And I was like, “This goyish environment is not for me.” I was like, “You cannot…” And then people said the names of the baby, and I was like, “Your baby is destined to have a terrible life. That’s a terrible name.” And also, this is wrong. You can’t tell… You don’t even… That baby might not be born. Get out of here.

Liza Treyger: Oh, people are loosey goosey nowadays. They’re just showing photos, buying stuff, gifts before… Absolutely.

Rebecca Lehrer: And they’re like the whole name. They’re like…

Liza Treyger: I don’t go to baby showers. I’m against it. And I do not go or I go and I let everyone know I will not be bringing a gift. Absolutely not. When your baby is born, you can get a gift from me.

Rebecca Lehrer: Urgh, I love that you have a hard line, and I think I’m so glad you’re sticking with it. But with that, I think we are just so grateful to have you here and any advice that you could give because where this is our guide to life, which is just how to tap into your most rebellious, renegade, degenerate self.

Liza Treyger: I don’t know. It’s hard. My life is like… It’s like I am so fulfilled in so many ways and then I also… It sucks when the ways you’re not fulfilled are the ways people usually respect other people. So that’s kind of hard. My apartment is small, but my life is so good.

Amy S. Choi: I think your apartment can be small and your life can be big.

Liza Treyger: It’s true. But God, I just wish I had one more room. Okay.

This is stealing from someone else. I think I saw it on Jerry Staltz, the art critic’s, his Instagram. But it was a thing about artists, and one of the things is free time is what makes you rich, not money. And it’s like, I don’t know. I mean, obviously everyone has different things and needs and cash and I get it, but to me, I feel so rich because I have so much free time and I have full ownership of my time in every way, and that makes me happy. Because sometimes I’m jealous of my friends who write for a TV show and they have more money, but they’re working every day. And I could go to Great America today if I wanted. So I think sometimes value the free time and the time that you have to do what you want with friends, family, yourself. And that’s valuable as well.

Rebecca Lehrer: I think to me, I couldn’t agree more that owning your time-

Liza Treyger: Owning your time.

Rebecca Lehrer: … is what we’re working towards actually. That’s the highest form of success to me. I get to own my time and pay my bills and all these… Not worry about if I have a health emergency, there’s lots of baseline living shit, but that to own my time. I’m like, “Ugh, that’s the highest point.” So I love that. I was curious, you have had this journey, right? You’re three years old. You leave the USSR, formerly that now Ukraine, and your family gets to eventually Skokie, when you look at what your parents’ lives have been in contrast to yours… I know you have some… We’ve heard your jokes about money, which make me cry, laughing about buying your dad a Faberge egg-

Liza Treyger: Oh my God.

Rebecca Lehrer: … And I would love to see images of it, but other ways that you think about in a daily way or that your approach to life sort of is formed by that experience in contrast or in relationship to what you and your family have already kind of emerged from the kind of chaos or context?

Liza Treyger: I think about them all the time. And I’ve also hit the age where I feel so lucky I have them. My parents are 85 and 78 and I just feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and I also see my friends becoming parents, and it is so hard, and I just cannot believe that in their forties.

And my dad was in his fifties, came to a country for their kid and had to do all the parent stuff without speaking English and working all these jobs and I get to live… I mean, my friends make fun of me when I say life of leisure because I do work hard, but I just love it so much. And it’s not manual labor. And so I can’t believe they did it. I don’t know how they did it. I can’t save money. I don’t know how they bought a house. It is wild to me and how giving they are, and I didn’t realize this until I was a late teen, but people have bad parents. And my parents aren’t perfect. My parents in our home, we would yell, silent treatment and then pretend nothing happened. And then in my twenties, when you live with people, you realize that’s not a way to resolve conflict and people don’t like being yelled at and silent treatment isn’t productive and you are living the same things. And I wish my parents had mental health help. They obviously have fucking problems growing up under Stalin. My dad’s born in 1938 and I can’t even imagine what they went through.

But so they obviously have their flaws. They’re not perfect, but they’re so loving and caring about us. And then you meet all these different people all over, always. And then you figure out like, “Oh fuck, like your mom’s a narcissist.” Or like, “Your parents… Wait, what? They didn’t pay for this?” Or, yeah, I feel so happy.

And then you learn about poverty in certain ways where I never felt rich, we were fresh immigrants, but I got to play basketball and I got to do theater, and I got to go on field trip. I got to do all this stuff. And then you realize, “Oh my God, there’s kids who couldn’t do that.” And then it’s wild to think about.

Rebecca Lehrer: Well, and also to think, I mean, we have children, my children are four and seven, and to think about the displacement, and I think this is right, that fucking asshole in 2016 when you were screaming in the green room at the comedy store or whatever, like, “No, this is really bad.” This idea that for us, that’s part of our ancestral trauma and grief and stuff where you’re like, “No, there’s no reason for me to believe based on my family’s entire history that I wouldn’t be displaced in the next few years.” There’s actually-

Liza Treyger: Hunny, they’re banning books.

Rebecca Lehrer: … No reason for me to think…

Liza Treyger: They’re banning books. What more evidence do you need? It’s like they’re banning books. Is that not the first sign? They’re going after the trans community? We’ve seen this before and I’m sitting here like a fucking twilight zone being like, “Are we not worried? I guess we’re not.” And then I just do molly and go to Vegas like that. That’s the only way. But yeah, I don’t know. I just feel… And I think so many immigrant stories are like parents making their kids do certain things. And for me, I just feel like they were just happy I got to live this… That I could do what I want. And I feel lucky that they hate that I have tattoos. They hate all these things that I do, but never stop me from being me. And I think that’s really unique.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, that’s such a testament to their love.

Liza Treyger: I know. They’re obsessed with me in a way that… I don’t know. I don’t know what… They got to get another hobby. They’re like obsessed. But I want to say, but in terms of informing comedy, the more outside you are, the better insight you have. I think with storytelling or anything like that. And so I think being an outsider always helps. That’s why all the white dudes are all doing the same trans joke. They have no way to see themselves.

Amy S. Choi: Be outside?

Liza Treyger: Yeah, they are the core. And so they have such a struggle to see outside of it, but…

Amy S. Choi: How boring.

Rebecca Lehrer: So boring. They know that punching down is so uninteresting?

Liza Treyger: It can be funny. That’s the thing. It’s like, can you actually be different? There are ways to make fun of everybody in a great way, and it’s just like, but they can’t see outside of themselves. And the more you’re not speaking English and you’re with a bunch of kids who do and you don’t understand anything, you’re going to have some opinions on what’s going on.

Rebecca Lehrer: You’re like, “I don’t know what they’re saying but that one’s a douche.”

Liza Treyger: Even in second grade, I remember Jenny and her family went to Disney World twice a year every year. And back then I was like, “Your family is crazy.” And now everyone makes fun of Disney adult families and yeah, I knew this in second grade.

Rebecca Lehrer: Jenny.

Amy S. Choi: Okay. Liza, you’re the greatest.

Rebecca Lehrer: Thank you so much.

Liza Treyger: This was so fun.

Amy S. Choi: What a delight.

Liza Treyger: Thank you for having me.

Rebecca Lehrer: Thank you, Liza, for reminding us that we should never step over someone’s legs ever again.

Amy S. Choi: Nope, never. And build a relationship with a moon. Okay? It’s important It seems. Just saying.

Rebecca Lehrer: It seems.

Amy S. Choi: Yes. Yes.

Rebecca Lehrer: Catch the final episode of this season of The Mashup Americans next week. We’ll have the chef, author, restaurateur, an incredibly thoughtful human Pierre Tham on the show, talking about the stories and love we express through food.

Amy S. Choi: Uh, our favorite subject. See you then. Love you.

Rebecca Lehrer: Bye.


This podcast is a production of The Mash-Up Americans. It is executive produced by Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer. Senior editor and producer is Sara Pellegrini. Production manager is Shelby Sandlin. Thanks to DJ Rob Swift for our theme song, Salsa Scratch. Additional engineering support by Pedro Rafael Rosado. Please make sure to follow and share this show with your friends. Bye.

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