Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:32

Nikki Glaser on Hosting, Touring and Sexism

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Nikki Glaser Nikki Glaser

Nikki Glaser
Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids

May 15-17, show times at 5:30, 8 and 10:30 p.m.
$10-$20, (616) 356-2000 

Nikki Glaser knew two things when she started performing stand up – she got a rush from being onstage, and she wanted to make people laugh. Beyond that, she didn't have many plans.

In a few short years, however, she found herself appearing on late night talk shows, filming stand-up sets for Comedy Central and co-hosting the podcast "You Had to Be There" with friend and collaborator Sara Schaeffer. When the duo landed their own late night talk show "Nikki and Sara Live" on MTV, it became apparent to Glaser that a life of comedy didn't need to be restricted to stand-up. She began thinking about the future, and the possibility of following in the footsteps of one of her heroes, Ellen Degeneres. 

“I like Ellen's career,” Glaser said. “Ellen gets to do stand-up on her show every day, so she gets to address that itch, but she also gets to stay in one place and have a life, and gets to be herself on television.”

Glaser hopes to eventually get a hosting career of her own, something to provide a bit more stability than the stand-up circuit.


For now, she's kept her hosting dreams in the back of her mind, opting instead to travel and build her fan base one show at a time.

“Right now it's kind of nice to be out there and escape from responsibilities in the city,” Glaser said. “It's like a mini vacation where you get to perform at night.”

Stand-up also gives her the chance to explore issues like abortion, sex, relationships and the menstrual cycle in a raw, uncensored manner that many audiences aren't used to.

“I think a lot of girls don't get to hear their voices represented in such a way,” Glaser said. “There are definitely female representations on TV that we look up to, like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer, but in a nightclub setting, you get to say things that you can't hear anywhere, so I think it's a little more shocking for these girls, and they love it. 

Of course, for everyone that embraces this uncensored version of femininity, there will also be someone else who misses the point entirely.

“There will be a lot of times where guys will say 'I didn't get what you were saying, but my girlfriend loved it,'” Glaser said. “And I'm like, 'Really, you didn't understand it? When I talk about tampons you can't grasp that idea?'” 

Glaser said she's also used to regularly receiving backhanded compliments from female fans as well, the most popular being, “I don't usually like women comics, but you were funny.” But despite sexist remarks, criticisms and backhanded compliments, Glaser has resolved to power through it all to do what she does best – make people laugh.

“I don't have an agenda, I'm not political. I just have certain feelings about certain things,” she said. “I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about anything, I'm just trying to be funny.”

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