Comedian, actress, and author Iliza Shlesinger likes everything about Tokyo. “The culture is just so complex and fascinating,” she says. The Dallas native, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, chef Noah Galuten, and their rescue dog, Tian Fu (a “sweet girl” who “loves carrots,” Shlesinger says), is an Emerson College alum. She has an affinity for Boston, where she has played numerous shows over the years at venues including the Wilbur Theatre and where “Spenser Confidential” (a popular Netflix film in which she costarred with Mark Wahlberg) was filmed. When asked if she recalls any memorable moments from her days at Emerson, Shlesinger deadpanned: “If anyone at 37 fully remembers college, you didn’t do it right.” Shlesinger is keeping busy during the pandemic. In addition to launching an at-home cooking show called “Don’t Panic Pantry” with her husband, she has a new podcast called “Ask Liza Anything,” and was a guest host on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” earlier this month. She also has several standup specials on Netflix. On July 31, Shlesinger will perform at the kickoff of a new “Drive-On” concert series at the old Yarmouth Drive-In on Cape Cod, which has reopened as an outdoor entertainment venue after being shuttered for 30 years. “I’ve never done a drive-in show. I’ve done military shows in the middle of the ocean, I’ve done shows in the middle of a desert in Iraq, but I’ve never done a drive-in movie theater,” she said, adding that she is “looking forward to bringing entertainment and a little relief” to people and to “connecting with my fans.” For more information about the show, visit yarmouthdrivein.com. We caught up with Shlesinger to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
I don’t take vacations really. Before corona I would have said I love being home, but now . . . I would love to just go to Whole Foods and not have to wear a hazmat suit. I do love Tokyo though – vacationing in a big city can be exhausting, but I’m not great at relaxing anyway and their culture is just so complex and fascinating.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
Anything local; whatever your specialty food is, I want to try it. I also love coffee and I always support local coffee shops when I travel. If you’re going to a Starbucks in Thailand, you’re kind of missing the point. Same to you, guy who eats at a Hard Rock Cafe in Spain.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. I’m strangely drawn to Nordic cultures and it just seems like a magical place.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
My Bose noise-canceling ear buds! They have been an absolute travel essential my whole career. Crying baby? Noisy hotel room? I drown it all out. I love them and I tell everyone about them all the time and they never go on sale and Bose has never acknowledged my love for their product. Oh . . . and I always bring a toothbrush, but that goes without saying, I hope.
Aisle or window?
I don't have long legs, so an aisle is wasted on me and just means more people bothering me. I love a window because I get to lean against the window and I control the shutter. Oh the power!
Favorite childhood travel memory?
When I was little, my brother and I would spend the summers in Connecticut with my dad and stepmom. It was less about the travel and more about our dad not caring about us eating junk food and my brother and I getting to have a summer of Jell-O pudding snacks and Fruit by the Foot – a huge deal in the ’90s.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
I always eat the mini Pringles in the mini bar. Like, before I even set my bag down, I hunt them down and eat them. I can’t help it. It’s a compulsion that probably stems from when I was first touring and stuck at hotels with nothing but a vending machine. They call to me . . . $8 for a can of 10 chips? Deal.
Best travel tip?
Talk to people. Don’t bury your head in your phone. People are proud of where they’re from and love to give insider info. The more open you are to talking, the more friends you make and the richer your experience. That being said, if you’re a woman traveling alone . . . be careful who you talk to!