Liza Treyger slays the Edinburgh Fringe with her wonderfully smutty solo show
"I don't wanna leave: it's so nice having people here. Cooo-al!" It's approaching midnight in a miserable, drizzly Edinburgh and Liza Treyger has come to the end of her show. "So enjoy the rest of your lives. Go to therapy and then you could be here too, in a trailer."
Treyger, 31, was born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which was once part of the Soviet Union ("We lived by the sea; we were white trash") and her family sought religious asylum in America when she was three. She grew up in Chicago, has spent the past five years in New York, and will soon move to LA. Her hour, so far, has been spent unburdening herself of her loose, libidinous lifestyle and her therapist's belief that she is a masochist, all in a drawling accent that is so accentuated you wouldn't know her parents were "Soviet war survivors" had she not already told everyone.
Wearing a spangly black dress and playing affectionately with the microphone, she follows up "butt" jokes with quips about thin people as she sips from a pint of beer and admits to eating "really poorly".
"With my parents, everything was about food," she reveals. "All the love they gave me was snack-driven. I never got compliments. Now when people are nice, I can't handle it. My body contorts. So I'm drawn to compulsive liars and sociopaths… There was no communication. I was raised on TV and going to the movies, so I watched fucked-up shit and we wouldn't talk about it."
Treyger has seven addictions, she says. "Weed, food, TV, talking shit, spending money, Instagram and porn. I smoke weed all day long, then I'm too high to put my make-up on."
There's not much Jewish material, other than a fleeting reference to going to a musical involving her niece who was "in the eighth grade at Jew school… most of it was boys picking up their kippahs".
She laments that her cultural references, such as her obsession with The Simpsons and Survivor "are 25 years old". No matter. The assembled lap it up. She's a comedy queen. Three quarters of the way through, it transpires that she is a queen. "I'm like a new gay. I would say I'm pansexual but that is most humiliating."
She brings up Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs' – a motivational theory by 20th-century psychologist Abraham Maslow – which she learnt about in therapy, but most of her material is sordid, smutty and seedy, which goes down a treat with the cackling late-night crowd. They can't get enough. The jokes rain down thick and fast, too fast for my pen and too crude in any case. Her unvarnished, unfiltered comments resonate with many in the audience and she revels in the adoration. Treyger is on a high. She's found her home and it's here, in this room.
By Lee Levitt
In the Weeds runs until Monday 26 August. 10.35pm. £10/£11, £9/£10 concs. Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG. www.edfringe.com