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Good on Paper: History vs. Hollywood


Iliza Shlesinger
Born: February 22, 1983
Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Portrays Andrea Singer, a Character Based on Herself

Iliza Shlesinger
Born: February 22, 1983
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Ryan Hansen
Born: July 5, 1981
San Diego, California, USA

Identity Unknown
Shlesinger has not revealed the true identity of her lying ex-boyfriend.

Historical Accuracy (Q&A):

How much of Good on Paper is based on the true story of Iliza Shlesinger's own train-wreck relationship?

In an interview with USA Today, Shlesinger said that "the first two-thirds of the movie are the mostly true parts," stating that the real story "ended with a whimper, not with a bang." She also said that unlike the 94-minute Netflix movie, her real-life disastrous relationship unfolded like "one very slow, drawn-out car wreck."

Has Iliza Shlesinger ever revealed the identity of her lying ex-boyfriend?

Over the years, Iliza Shlesinger has told the story of her nightmarish boyfriend several times, including during a 2014 episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, as well as in her 2015 stand-up segment "Lying Brian" on Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening. She refers to the boyfriend simply as "Brian". She does say a full name at the end of her bit, but Comedy Central beeps it out. While fans have wondered about his true identity (some fans in a Reddit thread have attempted to figure it out), the most that we can confirm is that she dated him in her early 30s and they broke up around the beginning of 2014.

Iliza Shlesinger has never revealed the identity of her real-life lying boyfriend, who she broke up with in early 2014.

In what ways is Iliza Shlesinger similar to her onscreen counterpart?

Shlesinger says in addition to the fact that she and her character, Andrea Singer, are both comedians, they are similar in fundamental ways as well. "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," she told USA Today. "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."

Similar to her character, she says that she is driven, is not insecure, and is able to trust others, traits that are not often found in female characters, especially in romantic comedies. "She's just a normal girl who is working her way through life, works on her career, loves her friends, and kind of gets something that she doesn't deserve," says Shlesinger. "She's more like a normal girl than we see in romantic comedies. She's not hapless. ... She didn't need any saving." -Daily News

Did Iliza Shlesinger meet her lying boyfriend on a plane?

Yes. The Good on Paper true story confirms that this is indeed how she met her lying ex-boyfriend. She described meeting him on a plane during her 2015 stand-up segment titled "Lying Brian" on Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening, as well as during her 2014 Joe Rogan Experience podcast appearance.

Like in the movie, Iliza Shlesinger met the real guy on a plane.

Did Iliza Shlesinger's real-life boyfriend lie about where he lived?

Yes. "I went with my friend Laura to his apartment," recalled Shlesinger, "and it wasn't the house that we thought it was." They knocked on the door and discovered that he had a female roommate. The roommate told them that he was up to his eyeballs in debt. Shlesinger and her mom also called the club where he said he belonged, only to discover he wasn't a member. -USA Today

Did Iliza Shlesinger's real-life boyfriend tell her that his mother had cancer?

Yes. In the Good on Paper movie, Andrea Singer (Iliza Shlesinger) is talking to Dennis Kelly (Ryan Hansen) on the phone when he tells her that his mother has cancer. A fact-check confirms that he revealed the news the same night that she had gone out to dinner with an attractive, muscular friend. In the movie, the good-looking friend is portrayed by The Bachelor's Tyler Cameron. Shlesinger posted a picture to Instagram of herself and her friend at dinner and thinks that is what triggered her boyfriend to call and reveal that his mother had cancer. "I think he saw that picture on Instagram, and he was like, 'I gotta do somethin' to shake this up.'"

In a 2021 USA Today interview, Shlesinger said that his roommate told them that his mother didn't have cancer. However, on the 2014 Joe Rogan Experience podcast, she said that she didn't know if his mother really had cancer. Given that they had only broken up three months prior to her appearance on Joe Rogan's show, it seems that she likely talked to the roommate again later.

Was Margaret Cho's Good on Paper character inspired by a real person?

During an interview with Screen Rant, Iliza Shlesinger indicated that her character's close friendship with Margot (Margaret Cho) in the movie was loosely based on the strong bond she has with her own best friend.

Comedian Margaret Cho as Andrea's best friend Margot in Good on Paper.

How long did Shlesinger date the real guy?

"We were friends for about a year," she said. "A little bit after a year, we dated for about three months. It was only at the end of that, that I started to put together he had lied about every single thing since the day I met him." -Daily News

Did the real Dennis ever own up to lying about himself?

Yes. The Good on Paper true story reveals that after the truth started to emerge, the real Dennis Kelly, whose first name seems to be Brian, did come clean with Shlesinger and admitted to her that he lied. He implied that the lying had spiraled out of control. "Every day it was just me terrified of the next day," he told her. -USA Today

Is Good on Paper's ending similar to the true story?

No. Iliza Shlesinger described the real-life ending as being far less climactic. "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.'" Shlesinger says that her mom had called the Yale Registrar's Office and confirmed that they hadn't had a graduate with his name since around 1985. After her mother Googled him, she found out in his bio on his employer's website that he went to the University of Ohio. -USA Today

Like in the movie, Iliza's real boyfriend lied about going to Yale.

How did Iliza Shlesinger handle the real break-up?

Shlesinger said that after she learned that her boyfriend had lied about who he was, it really stopped her in her tracks. She said that the relationship had felt serious and that he had even talked about getting married. She remarked that the break-up, which happened in early 2014, was painful, but turning it into art was a cathartic process that allowed her to heal. When she thinks about it now, she thinks about the happy memories of making the Good on Paper movie instead of the painful memories of her experience. -Screen Rant YouTube