All Photos Copyright: Phil Provencio
Phil Provencio documented some of New York City’s best and most talented comedians through our “Up Next” series. Any list of the biggest talents in New York would be incomplete without including Liza Treyger. She honed her comedy skills in Chicago, but she’s a New Yorker now, and her career is blowing up. She’s been in three seasons of MTV’s Joking Off, has a Half Hour comedy special for Comedy Central, and was featured in Louis CK’s Horace and Pete, a dream gig for a young comic. Phil met with Liza in her home in Brooklyn and grabbed lunch at her favorite hang- the C.Lo Cafe- all on her way to hosting a show at New York’s prestigious Comedy Cellar. He grabbed these amazing photos, and talked life and comedy.
Her favorite career highlights so far– getting passed at The Comedy Cellar and recording her Half Hour special for Comedy Central- both happened in the same week, making it her favorite week ever. “They were both so fun. I’ve been on TV before, and done other things but this was just 100% stand up. You now get to perform at the best place to do stand up, and it’s huge, it’s just everything I’ve ever wanted. And then doing the Half Hour- it’s just like…I watch all the old Half Hours, and even just watching the old HBO half hours, the One Night Stands- I was just excited to be a part of that. It meant a lot to me.”
Another career highlight was working on Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete, something which came about because Louis saw her perform at the Cellar. She summed up what it meant to her to work on the series. “When I’m on set, I’m watching the best actors that have ever lived, act, and when I’m not shooting I’m in a tiny room with some of the best comedians. So I was just soaking everything in, experiencing everything, trying to chat with everyone, and have a great time because I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do anything that great again, so I wanted to experience it fully,” she said, adding “And it all started from the Cellar. That’s another thing. I was saying how fun it is to perform there and develop, but also you just get to watch Dave Attell every night, you get to watch Louis work out his hour, it’s just an amazing thing.”
Liza calls her neighborhood the perfect blend of hip and old school. “I like it cause there’s hip things like brunches, and nice haircut places. But here’s a ghetto street, and there’s a lot of Italian families that live here still so in the summer when it’s nice out, the old people sit in chairs, play Dominoes, there’s kids in kiddie pools, so it’s a nice balance between old school– there’s still a pork shop– and new places. And then the bar across the street from my house is open till 5, which is great. The bodega with sandwiches, I get my haircut on the street, I do everything. There’s sushi 2 blocks away, Thai, I never leave. Unless it’s for shows, I never leave.”
Her favorite spot in the neighborhood- or anywhere for that matter is the C.Lo Cafe. “I come here every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes more. I bring all my friends here. Everyone comes to me, because this place is so good.” If you need some recommendations, she has a few. “Get the grilled cheese with avocado and tomato. It’s two different cheeses; it’s great. Sometimes I walk in and they go, double queso no arugula. I love their veggie avocado bagel, sometimes I get just yogurt and fruit, oatmeal, carnitas are insane and then once in awhile I’ll have a pork sandwich, a chorizo breakfast, I like everything here. And their banana bread is amazing, and homemade.”
She’s still not completely sure what neighborhood she lives in. “I think it’s East Williamsburg, but Nicole Byer yelled at me and told me it’s Bushwick, but sometimes when I tell people it’s Bushwick they’re like, no it’s not. So I just don’t know. ” But wherever it is, she loves it.
Treyger loves inspirational quotes and reads them often. One of her favorite quotes comes from comedy mega-star Amy Poehler. “If the goal is doing good stuff and working with your friends, you’re succeeding.” Treyger lives this attitude, working and collaborating with her friends on a daily basis and performing nightly alongside the best comics in the world at the Comedy Cellar. Also if she could add some quality time with her fellow bestie Sabrina Jalees and some weed, then it’s definitely a perfect day. She described her perfect day in detail.
“I would wake up – I usually like to wake up later, but I’ll say 11:00 just to fill everything in. So at 11:00 I’d wake up and I would have a friend or two come over and we would come to C.Lo. Actually I would wake up at a 11, I’d get high, I would smoke a joint and maybe watch a show, or just fuck around on the internet before a friend would come over.” Treyger says she watches everything, but a few favorites– she watches Seinfeld every day, just finished watching HBO shows, Girls, Togetherness and Animals, and is into Real Housewives of New York, and Real Housewives of Dallas.
“And then either Matteo would come over, my friend Lil Freckles, or whatever. In a dream world, Sabrina would be here visiting me but she’s in LA . If you could imagine anything with Sabrina would be a dream day so everything else would be second place to just being with Sabrina Jalees and her wife Shauna.” The afternoon would involve walking, shopping, buying some things, getting a blowout, all of course, in the neighborhood. “And then I would- some of the girls- we would do a nice happy hour, a dinner, some raw seafood, and then I would do spots. So a dream day would be like four spots, and then late night hang out with friends, chat, stay out late, maybe have a couple of drinks, and then come home, smoke again, watch more shows.” Sex, which comes up a lot in Treyger’s comedy, is not mentioned. “It’s just so not a part of my life, I can’t even bring it up. Meet my future husband and hang out. But mostly friends, food, something to impair my judgment…”
“I just filmed six episodes of my snap chat show, so that will come out hopefully soon, and that’s every week an episode, they’re like a minute 30, Like it with Liza, so that will be fun. And then, I’m going on tour in August with Sasheer [Zamata], Nicole Byer and Matteo. And we’ll be doing six cities which is really exciting cause we’ll be playing the Wilbur, and Gramercy, and that’s amazing. And then just a fun summer going to the beach, and hopefully I’ll sell a goddamn TV show. It’s harder than it looks.
Beyond that, she’d love to have “more” of everything. “I’m living my dream life. I would like more of it…I want more sex, more projects, more work. But I’m really living a dream life, performing every night, hanging out with friends, not having to go to school or wake up and then the days I do wake up, it’s only for auditions, or traveling to go on the road or filming my snap chat show, being on a set somewhere. Anything I have to wake up for, I would love to do it. If I stay up late its because I’m watching comedy or hanging out with great comedians. Honestly, I’m really really pumped.”
So more is good, but she’s not rushing anything. “My work ethic could get better- it’s really hard for me to focus on more than one thing so when I’m like super inspired with stand up, I’m not developing other scripts and stuff. So it’s hard for me to do everything at once, but I’m not in a rush. I want to do this forever, so I’m really not in a rush to get anything or do anything before I’m ready to do it.”
“Sometimes I’m like oh I should be doing this or making that or working harder, speed things up and then it’s like, why? The way I’ve been living chill has worked out. I’ve been getting to do everything I dreamed of by just having fun and doing stand up and not focusing too much on what I should be doing, so that’s fun.”
Follow Liza on Twitter @GlitterCheese and on Facebook.