Sunday, 29 July 2018 22:16

Girl on Fire: Roast-ess with the most-est Nikki Glaser ready to bring the heat

Written by  Eric Mitts
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Nikki Glaser Nikki Glaser COURTESY PHOTO

If comedian Nikki Glaser could host a roast for anyone, she’d pick Taylor Swift.

And not because she thinks the pop-country megastar needs to be taken down from the top of the charts.

Because she identifies with her.

“I truly love her and I would make jokes about everything except the fact that she writes about dudes she’s dated,” Glaser told Revue. “I hate that she gets flack for that. I love how honest and vulnerable and angry she is in her music. I feel things when I listen to it.

“And that’s why I often call myself ‘the Taylor Swift of Comedy.’ I also call myself that because no one else will.”

Hot on the heels of her latest spot on Comedy Central’s Roast of Bruce Willis late last month, Glaser has proven herself, once again, as one of stand-up’s top-tier performers.

Currently the host of Comedy Central Radio’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser on Sirius XM, she has a long history with the network, including her boundary-pushing series Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, and her legendary runs on popular panel game show @midnight.

“Radio is a breeze compared to TV,” Glaser said of her current gig. “I just get to come in and talk. No hair and makeup, no writing, no rehearsal, no editing. It’s night and day. And I get to be myself fully.”

Setting out to be as honest as possible, she said she wanted the daily morning radio show — which premiered in February — to be her own version of what Howard Stern does.

“The hardest part about it is the hosting aspect, but it’s a skill I want to hone since I plan on hosting TV shows the rest of my career,” she said. “Keeping conversation flowing and interviewing guests has been the most challenging part, but it’s nice to learn a new skill 14 years into your career.”

Glaser started doing stand-up when she was 18. Directionless during her freshman year at the University of Kansas, friends kept telling her that she should try comedy. So one night she took their advice and got up onstage.

She was hooked immediately.

“I got off the stage after my first show and called my dad crying and told him I knew what I wanted to be,” Glaser said. “It’s a really cheesy story, but 100-percent true.”

Raised in the ’90s on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Seinfeld, Glaser soon discovered comics like Sarah Silverman, Mitch Hedberg, Wendy Liebman, Dave Attell and others, who influenced her joke writing.

A semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing early on in her career, Glaser looks back on that experience as a turning point in her career, where she gained the confidence she needed to continue pursuing “this insane career,” even when she wasn’t making any money.

“I think I have done so much stand-up in the beginning of my career that was unpaid, that I still feel like I have to do stand-up at night just for the hobby of it,” Glaser said, adding that hitting the road to play comedy clubs is a sort of vacation from her New York-to-L.A. working life.

“The benefit of the road is that I feel more off the grid,” she said. “It’s probably the depressed introvert in me that likes any reason to eat in bed. I only let myself do that in hotel rooms and it feels great.”

Currently single after breaking up with her ex-boyfriend “seven times in the last five years,” Glaser also frequently talks about her sex life and dating troubles in her stand-up.

“Dating is hard because you have to sort through a lot of riff-raff and I don’t really have the time,” she said. “But I’m sure when I end up in another relationship, I’ll get a ton of material from that, too. So it’s not like I’m staying single so that I have something to talk about onstage. I’ll always find a way to talk about sex and relationships, whether I’m having them or not.”

Proud to support the #MeToo movement and help change the dialogue about sex in this country, Glaser said she takes being a popular comedian seriously.

“I love when I hear that I am inspiring to a young girl, whether she’s a comic or just a teacher in the Midwest,” she said. “I am trying to be a female voice that I myself could have benefitted from as a young woman with low self-esteem. I want to lessen the burden of being a woman in this world by sharing my experience.”

Nikki Glaser
Dr. Grins at The B.O.B.
20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Aug. 23-25, $15-25

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