Iliza Shlesinger on her 'car wreck' dating drama that inspired 'Good on Paper,' cancel culture (2024)

Iliza Shlesinger's "Good on Paper" is based on a hellish relationship,though in real life,the "Unveiled" comedian says the datingdisaster that inspired the movieplayed out like "one very slow, drawn-out car wreck."

In the 94-minute Netflixfilm releasedWednesday, which Shlesingerwrote and produced, she stars as driven comic Andrea Singer, who meets and eventually falls for Dennis Kelly (Ryan Hansen), supposedly a Yale-educated man working in finance. But Dennis says a lot of things that Andrea and her best friendMargot (Margaret Cho) grow suspicious of and begin to investigate.

"The first two-thirds of the movie are the mostly true parts," says the 38-year-old comedian, who won NBC's "Last Comic Standing" competition in 2008.She has five comedy specials available on Netflix and debuted the six-episode "Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show" on the platform last year.

"The story is based off of my real-life experience andmeeting someone on a plane, befriending them, thinking something was a little off and eventually falling for this person and then finding out everything about them was a lie from the day that I met them," she says.

Shlesingerspokeabout the horrifying ordeal in a 2014 episode of"The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast and the next year on Comedy Central's "This Is Not Happening" before turning her heartache into cinema.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Shlesinger says"because auditioning can be so painful," there were no auditions andall of the actors instead received offers for theirroles in the movie.The "Spenser Confidential" actress reveals how former "Bachelorette" contestantTyler Cameron's cameocame to be, how her real-life reprehensible romance ended, and her thoughts on cancel culture in comedy.

(Editedfor length and clarity.)

Netflix in June:10 shows to watch for, including 'Sweet Tooth,' 'Lupin,' and a Kevin Hart movie

Question: You and your characterAndrea are both stand-up comedians. You've said this story is inspired bysomething that happened to you. How else are you and Andrea similar?

Iliza Shlesinger:I wrote her from a place of honesty because I believe a lot more women arelike Andrea than movies lead you to believe. We're both women who have our careers. We're both women who are dissatisfied with our progress in (our)careers at times.We're both women who are not insecure andare moving through our lives with purpose and aren't easily rattled,and are kind and love the people in our lives, and who trust people.

I think Hollywood would lead you to believe women are hapless in love, or hopeless romantics, or clumsy, or too strong and have it coming when in actuality most women are not hot messes. Most women do take care of themselves and have a career and friends and an enriching life and are dating and dating whoever they choose.

Kevin Hart sayshe can relate to diaper disasters, crying babies in new dramedy ‘Fatherhood’

Q: Andrea goes on a date with a man played by Tyler Cameron. How did that cameo come to be? Are you a fan of "The Bachelor"? Is he in your friendship circle?

Shlesinger: I've actually never seen the show...(And)he is not in my friendship circle, although he was very, very nice.We wanted to cast (him) because in real life, the person I was on a date with when Dennis Kelly called and said his mom had cancer (as portrayed in the movie)had a very similar vibe. We thought it would be a really great way to get in a surprise cameo fromsomeone thata lot of people recognize.

Chris Harrison,host of the 'Bachelor' franchise, exits after racism controversy

Matt James posts first photowith Rachael Kirkconnell since getting back together

Iliza Shlesinger on her 'car wreck' dating drama that inspired 'Good on Paper,' cancel culture (1)

Q: How did you find out about the lies from the person who inspired Dennis?Did you ever confront him?

Shlesinger:In real life, (it)ended with a whimper, not with the bang.I sent a text, and I said, "I know you didn't go to Yale," and he wrote back something to the extent of, "I did not go to Yale. I've been lying to you every day since the day I met you." …My mother called the Yale Registrar's Office, and they came back, and they were like, "We don't have a record of a Dennis Kelly graduating here since like 1985." And thenthe club he said he belonged to, we called, and he didn't belong there. Then, I went with my friend Laura to his apartment, and it wasn't the house that we thought it was.

These things started to unravel, and I think I met up with him one other time, but I didn't know the extent. He basically just owned up (to it). He was like, "I was so in love with you, and I lied to you at first, and then every day it was just me terrified of the next day." So, I think this is a case of somebody who made a mistake and lied and then chose to continue to do it. … (Later, his roommate)said, "He's in so much debt. He said you guys have been dating for a year," which isn't true, and then I said, "I feel so bad for himbecause his mom is dying," and they looked at me and said, "What are you talking about? His mom doesn't have cancer." That was the final kick in the teeth where it went from like "OK somebody who's misguided, that's so sad,"to "Oh, this is a horrible person."

'You can never do right':Rita Moreno defends Lin-Manuel Miranda amid 'In the Heights' criticism

Robert Duvall on'12 Mighty Orphans,' his proudest performance and the major role he turned down

Iliza Shlesinger on her 'car wreck' dating drama that inspired 'Good on Paper,' cancel culture (2)

Q: How does writing a movie compareto writing jokes for the stage?

Shlesinger:I don't sit down at a computer and write. It's a verbal process for me, which is why I tourso much because you get to talk it out. But I only have to be concerned with my voice and my point of view. …What makes a great comic is having that point of view. When you write a movie, you have to make sure that while it's your point of view, not every character sounds like you. I put a lot of time and effort into making sure that everybody was their own person versus just Andrea in different wigs.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on cancel culture? Does it impact your joke writing or work?

Shlesinger: It's something that you sometimes are forced to reckon with if you made a genuine mistake, but the angry mob doesn't actually want an apology. They just want tosee you ripped to pieces. So you have to decide where your moral compass is. Is this something you're truly sorry for? Or, is it a story you can weather until the zombie mob finds another brain to feed off of. I think it's a pendulum that had to swing one way, and that's good. We needed to correct a lot of things, but when you get people who are being canceled because they said one thing and people think that the punishment should be that they lose their livelihood, their lives, everything – I think when you have a punishment outweighing the crime, then society needs to put itself back in check.

'I really hate seeing myself':Gwyneth Paltrow reveals the only movie she can watch herself in

'Oh my God, it's going to eat me':'Raiders of the Lost Ark' stars talk filming the notorious face-melting scene

Iliza Shlesinger on her 'car wreck' dating drama that inspired 'Good on Paper,' cancel culture (2024)


How true is the story from Good on Paper? ›

How much of the character is based on the real guy you dated? ILIZA SHLESINGER: So, we say this movie is "a mostly true story based on a lie." I think two-thirds of it is true — I can't say 100 percent accurate because we had to change some characters.

Is Dennis Lying in good on paper? ›

She learns Dennis has lied about his house and that he has two female roommates. Andrea confronts Dennis over lying about his living situation, and he further lies about his sick mother living in his house, which she believes.

What's the movie Good on Paper about? ›

How did Iliza meet her husband? ›

He first met Shlesinger on a dating app

Shlesinger and Galuten met on a dating app in July 2016 and got engaged less than a year later. The Girl Logic author recalled the special moment after she came home from dinner and started undressing.

How real is Good on Paper? ›

The movie is “two-thirds true,” Shlesigner says. “Every interaction, almost every line that he said, these things are real. I could not make up that extent of lying.” And yes, in real life, Shlesigner took the bait — but she won't take the blame.

Is Good on Paper appropriate? ›

Parents need to know that Good on Paper is a relationship comedy with mature themes and language aimed at an adult audience. The concept of relationships between 30-somethings dissatisfied with their lives or careers likely won't resonate with younger viewers anyway. There's a lot of alcohol consumption in…

Was Andrea Singer charged with kidnapping? ›

The final act, in which Dennis accuses Andrea of assault and kidnapping him in court, was completely fictional, with Schlesinger noting that she'd "face criminal charges" if the events unfurled the way they did in the movie.

Is Good on Paper a romance? ›

Good on Paper is a fair romantic comedy film which many can relate when dating. And they come across when the other person lies about themselves to make them seem more presentable.

Who played Dennis Kelly? ›

"Good on Paper" is a "mostly true" story based on one of Iliza Shlesinger's dating experiences. Ryan Hansen told Insider the comedian was "totally coaching" him on how to play Dennis Kelly.

What does "good on paper" mean? ›

said to mean that something seems to be a good idea, plan, or argument when you read about it, but may not be good in reality. This system looks good on paper but it is expensive and, in my view, still of very limited value. Easy Learning Idioms Dictionary.

What's the movie the paper about? ›

What is the main idea of film? ›

The theme is the heart of the movie. The movie is regulated by the theme. The theme is why people go to the movies. It is not because of the characters, story, plot, cinematography, or genre.

Is good on paper based on a true story? ›

Iliza Shlesinger on her 'car wreck' dating drama that inspired 'Good on Paper,' cancel culture. Iliza Shlesinger's "Good on Paper" is based on a hellish relationship, though in real life, the "Unveiled" comedian says the dating disaster that inspired the movie played out like "one very slow, drawn-out car wreck."

What dating show did Iliza host? ›

She was the 2008 winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing and went on to host the syndicated dating show Excused from 2011 to 2013. As well, she has hosted the TBS game show Separation Anxiety.

Did iliza have a baby? ›

Iliza Shlesinger is officially a mom of two! The actress and comedian, 40, has welcomed her second baby with husband Noah Galuten, a rep confirms to PEOPLE.

How true does the story have to be based on a true story? ›

"Based on" a True Story

There are creative liberties taken for sure, but most of the depictions within the script are based on what actually happened and how it happened. Read ScreenCraft's How to Master Creative Liberties in True Story Screenplays!

What is the premise of the good on paper? ›

Rotten score. Rotten audience score. Andrea Singer always put her stand-up career first, and while dating came easy, love wasn't a priority... that is until she meets Dennis, a quirky nerd with disarming charm who coaxes her into letting her guard down.

Who is the comedian in good on paper? ›

After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful... and possibly too good to be true. Watch all you want. Iliza Shlesinger wrote and stars in this comedy based on a mostly true story. With Margaret Cho and Ryan Hansen.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lilliana Bartoletti

Last Updated:

Views: 5451

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lilliana Bartoletti

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 58866 Tricia Spurs, North Melvinberg, HI 91346-3774

Phone: +50616620367928

Job: Real-Estate Liaison

Hobby: Graffiti, Astronomy, Handball, Magic, Origami, Fashion, Foreign language learning

Introduction: My name is Lilliana Bartoletti, I am a adventurous, pleasant, shiny, beautiful, handsome, zealous, tasty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.