"I feel like I'm a lady in the streets and a freak on the stage. It hurts my feelings the way some guys think they can talk to me after they hear me talk on stage because I'm up there and I feel very empowered and I feel like I'm in control and I realize that some guys, all they hear is like, 'She's just a slut.' And it's disappointing. But they're just idiots."
– Nikki Glaser
Guy MacPherson: Hello, Nikki.
Nikki Glaser: Hey, Guy!
GM: How are you?
NG: I'm good, how are you?
GM: I'm good. Sorry I'm late.
NG: No, no, you're fine. Thank you so much for being able to do this now. I'm sorry about yesterday.
GM: That's okay. No hard feelings.
NG: Thank you, thank you.
GM: How are your shows going in Seattle?
NG: They're good, they're good.
GM: That's a new club, isn't it?
NG: Yeah, it is. I've been to the other Parlor Live in Belleview but this downtown one is different. It's kind of like a weird, drunken crowd and there's a nightclub right outside the showroom so the late show was just like pounding, thumping Latin music. So that was a problem but other than that it's been great.
GM: I know you took time off your standup touring while you were doing your TV show, but you're back at it. How often are you out on the road?
NG: I am currently on the road pretty much every weekend. I've had a couple weekends off here and there but I've been consistently on the road for the past I'd say year and a half, I guess now at this point. It's a nice thing because standups always that thing that when you've got nothing else going on or you're working on something else but it's not in production yet, you can just always count on it. It's a nice little safety. It's like my safety school. But also in the past year and a half I've come up with a ton of new material so I'm putting together an hour special. It's exciting.
GM: It must get lonely on the road, though.
NG: It does and that is why I've instated a new rule in my touring schedule that I get to bring my own middle act everywhere I go. So I bring a guy named Tom Brady, oddly enough. He is a kid from Chicago who has become one of my best friends so now it's no longer lonely. We just go from town to town. It's like having my brother on the road. It's awesome.
GM: Someone to hang out with.
NG: Yeah. It's the difference between being an only child and having siblings. You just have someone there to say, 'God, isn't this weird?' or 'Isn't this annoying?' or 'Isn't this great?' It's mostly just someone to complain to and commiserate with because there are so many things about the road that are just off-putting and uncomfortable. It's just nice to have someone be like, 'Isn't dad a jerk?' That's what's been really nice about it. And we have so much fun. Yesterday we went shopping before the show and I said, 'Hey, if I pay you $50, will you wear any shirt that I pick out on stage tonight?' And he was like, 'Yeah!' So I paid him fifty bucks to wear a woman's shirt on stage that looked passable as a man's. It was this pink deep v-neck shirt and he had to wear it during his first set, because we both had friends coming to the second show so I was like I'm not going to make you do it then. But he wore it during the first show and the rule was he couldn't address it at all so he had to go through his whole set and just wear this ridiculous shirt that was so distracting and he had to get past that. It was such a handicap to get past it but he killed. It was so funny. And then I go up on stage right after him and I'm like, 'Can we talk about Tom's shirt? I paid him $50 to wear that today.' Stuff like that makes the road so much more fun.
GM: Does he get to keep the shirt?
NG: You know what? Actually, since it's a woman's shirt, I am now keeping it. Because it's actually a cute shirt.
GM: He's your size?
NG: No, no, no. It's very large. I'll be wearing it to bed but it's still cute.
GM: You said he's a young guy.
NG: Yeah, he's, I think, 26. Not that young. But it's nice because people brought me out on the road early on in my career and it just helps so much because when you're a young comic, it's so hard to get stage time. So going out every week and getting to do 20 to 30 minutes twice a night, there's no comparison. So he's gotten so good. And it's nice to give back.
GM: Where are you living now?
NG: I live in New York. And I'm splitting my time kind of between New York and L.A. at the moment.
GM: So Tom lives in New York? That's where you met?
NG: No, he lives in Chicago. We actually met in Indiana. He's originally from Bloomington, Indiana, and there's a club there that I've been headlining at the longest because it's the first club that headlined me. He was a very young comic when I started working there about six years ago. So I've known him since then. Then when I was able to have enough clout to tell clubs I want to bring my own guy, is that cool?, usually they're like 'We just want to use a local guy' because they know who they trust, but now I have enough, I guess clout is the word, to say I'm going to bring my own guy and just trust me, he's awesome. And they're always impressed so it's good.
GM: No romantic interest?
NG: Oh, no, no, no. He is the little brother I've never had. He's one of my very best friends. But no, I have a boyfriend so there's no romantic interest at all. So the boyfriend is okay with it.
GM: So the boyfriend is okay with it?
NG: Yeah, they met finally like a month ago and they got along really, really well. It was awesome. There's this brotherly vibe. It's nice because I have a little sister but I've always wanted a brother. Actually he is kind of like another sister because he's a good listener and he's emotional and has feelings and likes to talk about his feelings. He's like another sister that I've never had. But also he tells me about all of his Tinder hookups, which is always fun.
GM: Is this the same boyfriend that was a producer on your show?
GM: I watched you talk about him on some radio show I saw online. You were talking about how he won't say 'I love you.'
NG: Right. He finally did. It took him a while. He's just a guy that doesn't do things before he's ready to do them. So he took his time on that one.
GM: That's good if he was going to say it eventually. Because now you know he really means it. You don't want him to say it if it's not true.
NG: Yes, exactly. I would have preferred him to just lie and say it early but you know. I knew he would get there. I wanted to hear it just so I could assuage my friends' anger that he hadn't said it yet. But yeah, he said it and we are in love and we are currently working on a new show together. I think it's getting announced in the next couple of weeks that I have a show coming out on Comedy Central soon.
GM: What kind of show?
NG: It's a sex show. It's about sex so it's me talking to comedians and just normal people and going out on the town and just learning about sex and investigating it and talking about it and laughing about it.
GM: And he'll be producing?
NG: Yeah, we co-created and we're co-executive producing it with some other people.
GM: On that radio show you said you wouldn't work with him again.
NG: Yeah, I say stuff sometimes. Now I feel so not that way. I need someone to push me to hit deadlines and be my best self so it's nice to have someone who believes in me that's like, 'You can do this'. He's very organized. He's very type-A. I'm the one with the jokes and he's the one with the plans so it's worked out great.
GM: But he still won't get married?
NG: No, no, no. We don't want to get married. We both don't. At this point I don't want to marry him, either.
NG: It's nothing personal. We've broken up twice and I just know that when I think things are the best they'll ever be, I can't trust it because, you know, shit happens. I just don't ever want to have to get divorced so it's easier to just not get married so if we ever want to go our separate ways it can be easily done. And I don't need a wedding. My friend Ali Wong, who's a comedian, said it really well. She's like, female comics don't need a wedding because most girls don't have that day that's just about them. It's really important to them to have that where it's just all you, all the focus is on you. I get to have focus on me every night so that's not something I'm craving, having a day for me – especially one where I don't get to talk a lot. On your wedding you just have to smile a lot and cry. So I don't crave that kind of attention. I don't really feel the need to lock it down. I like having an exit strategy that's easy. I like knowing where the exits are. And I think he does, too. I don't know. I just don't care about marriage.
GM: But if you break up with someone, it's the same feeling as divorce.
NG: But it's not as messy. And it's not the word 'divorce.' It's already the worst thing I've ever been through when we've broken up so I just wouldn't want to add...
NG: Yeah, paperwork to that. When you split, you just want to go. At least I do. I don't want to draw it out. We never want to live together, either. And not for that reason but just that we know that we like each other best when we have time to miss each other. And we get along best when there are times when we can be apart. So we make sure to have those worked in to our relationship.
GM: That works out well with your schedule.
NG: It does. I'm gone most weeks but when we're going to be working on the show together, it's going to be close quarters for us. We're going to be working together all day. So we need to work on having our alone time because you get so co-dependent with someone that it's easy to just stay with them all the time. We're trying to keep it fresh and fun.
GM: Ali did get married, though.
NG: She did get married. But I don't think she had a big ceremony. But yes, she did get married.
GM: Watching you on that radio show you did, and listening to half of the full episode you did with me, you're just a great guest. You're so open and honest and engaging.
NG: Thank you. It's gotten me in trouble. I would rather be entertaining than considerate of my privacy and others' privacy. I like to share stuff and I like to over-share, to use that word that I hate so much. It's a problem. I just will say anything. It's hurt people before. One of the times we broke up was because I was on my own podcast telling stories and exaggerating things for humour and he was like, 'I don't know who this person is but that is not who I know.' He was not happy with it. So I gotta keep it in check now. So I get most of my venting out in therapy. But yeah, I'm an open book. I don't have a lot to hide anymore.
GM: Is that why you quit doing the podcast with Phil Hanley, because it was affecting your relationship?
NG: It did. My boyfriend and I broke up because of it and then it was hard to do after that because I just felt stifled. I just didn't know how to continue. That was who I was on the podcast, so open about my relationship and sex and everything, which I still am. My boyfriend hasn't silenced me in any way, but I was kind of spent. I've been doing podcasts now for like five years and I'm just kind of out of stories. I needed to take a break from sharing every week and feeling the pressure to have a good new story. Because when there's dead air, I just say whatever I can to fill it because I'm just an insecure comedian like that. I don't like having a time when there aren't laughs or when there's not something engaging for the listener. So I just talk. And it's gotten me into some trouble. I just have to have better boundaries when it comes to comedy. I'm sure this comes off as if my boyfriend's like, 'Don't talk about me!' He's given me licence to talk about anything I want, but he's like, 'It just has to be funny.' And I think a lot of times on the podcast, I would just talk to talk and it wasn't even funny. It was just salacious or painted him in a bad light. I also had a problem with confronting him with my feelings because I was scared he would break up with me if I told him how angry I was at him about some stuff. So then I would just go on the podcast and vent my feelings about him on there since I know he didn't listen. Not that I did it because he didn't listen, but that's how it came out for me was on this podcast. Now that I have learned how to deal with my anger and my frustrations in my relationship, I don't need that outlet.
GM: How long have you been going out with him?
NG: Over two years now.
GM: So not doing any podcast now?
NG: No. No podcast.
GM: None at all. You've gone cold turkey on the podcasts.
NG: Yeah, I really am choosy now about them. I used to just say yes whenever it came up. Not only is it a drain on me creatively, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. I used to do them all the time and now I know my time is better spent working on my personal projects or just getting rest. So now I don't do podcasts anymore really.
GM: I thought you were doing one up here.
NG: I am. I made an exception for that one because it is my little brother opener's favourite podcast and he's been talking about it for years so I was like, I gotta do this.
GM: Stop Podcasting Yourself?
GM: Have you heard it?
NG: No, but I hear it's very popular. So I make exceptions for the ones, of course, that are good promotional tools and also that I hear really great things about. I used to do... The emcee of a weekend would have some podcast that, like, three people listen to and I would waste an afternoon doing that. And it was just like, 'What am I doing?! Just because someone asks me, I don't have to say yes to everything.' So I've just gotten in the habit of picking and choosing.
GM: You're going to be on The Bachelorette?
NG: Yeah, on Monday I'm going to be on The Bachelorette. Amy Schumer is one of my best friends and she did an episode where she teaches the guys how to do standup and she brings in three of her friends to coach them and I was one of those friends.
GM: I never miss an episode.
NG: Is that real?
GM: I blog about it.
NG: Oh, I love The Bachelor so much. It was a dream come true.
GM: I wasn't thrilled the Vancouver girl was chosen over Britt.
NG: Really?! Why?
GM: I just haven't warmed to her.
NG: She's pretty amazing. I couldn't believe they even entertained the idea of giving... I think they just wanted another opportunity to knock Britt down from her pedestal that she's been on her entire life. I couldn't believe that they even did that to her. That was so cruel. But I didn't want Britt as the Bachelorette. She's too perfect. You gotta have a little edge with your Bachelorette or a little bit of relatability. At least for women. Britt is just like this angel that we've all hated since high school.
GM: But she doesn't wash her hair. She's not that perfect.
NG: Yeah, but no one really seemed to mind that. And it didn't seem to affect how gorgeous and how much Chris liked her until she was lying about wanting to live on a farm.
GM: We could talk about the Bachelor all day.
NG: Oh yeah, totally. I've been into it for the past three seasons.
GM: So you like Kaitlyn then.
NG: I like Kaitlyn. And meeting her, she was really funny and warm and nice and down to earth and all those things. She's cool. And I think the way that she interacts with the guys... If I went on that show, I would have a crush on one of them and then just not pay attention to the rest because that's how I operate. But she gives everyone equal attention, she's very flirty. She's a perfect Bachelorette. I think it's going to be a great season.
GM: And she has sex with somebody.
NG: Yeah, yeah. It's like, who cares? I mean, it's awesome but I didn't see the preview; I just heard about it. But the whole slut-shaming thing that's going on... Apparently she said I stand by what I did but I feel bad. I don't know what's going on. But yeah, I'm thrilled about that girl.
GM: Jillian Harris was another Vancouver Bachelorette.
NG: Oh yeah! Kaitlyn's Canadian comes out a little bit when she said something about being in 'elementary.' We call it 'elementary school' but I guess you guys call it 'elementary.' So I thought, oh, there's some Canadian!
GM: No, no, we call it elementary school.
NG: Really? What? That's weird.
GM: I thought you guys called it grade school.
NG: We call it grade school and elementary school.
GM: And we just call it elementary school.
NG: Okay. She just said 'elementary' and I thought maybe that's a... Because I know you guys say 'grade eight' and 'grade nine' and like that. That's always the one that gets me.
GM: But she did say Ben Zee instead of Ben Zed.
NG: Oh! I didn't know you guys said 'zed' instead of 'zee.'
GM: Yeah. Every English-speaking country in the world except the U.S. says 'zed'.
NG: Yeah, we're dumb like that.
GM: I bet the producers told her to say 'zee' so as not to confuse anyone.
NG: I'm sure. They're very good, those guys.
GM: It's funny how you talking about sex got you in trouble with the guy who you're going to be doing a TV show where you talk about sex. So it must not be a confessional show. Are you just finding out stuff?
NG: No, it definitely is me sharing stuff. I just don't want to share stuff on a podcast twenty people are listening to. If I'm going to share something, I want it to be something that I can control and that I'm very consciously thinking about what I'm going to say. I'm producing the show, I'm writing on it, I'm making it so I get to pick and choose what goes on air. This isn't something that I'm just doing on a Sunday afternoon and I'm tired and just trying to be entertaining and trying to impress some guy that I don't even know. Your podcast is amazing, by the way. This is not any reflection of you. I'm thinking about very specific people in different towns. I'm doing it my way instead of just doing it because I'm a girl that says yes to everything. I'm taking the control back in this scenario.
GM: You talk a lot about sex, but you seem like a one-man woman, unlike Amy whose persona is someone who sleeps with a lot of different people.
NG: She has slept with a lot of different people. She definitely writes from experience but she's a very monogamous person. She likes relationships so when she's with someone, it's one guy. And she's really so busy right now she's not sleeping around at all. But she's had a great past to pull from. So she is not bullshitting but it's not who she is right now. But it will be once she finds the right person.
GM: But that's not your persona.
NG: No. When I am with someone, I'm a freak and I'm a pervert and I'm all those things. I love talking about sex, I love learning about it, and I like having it and trying new things and stuff like that, but no, I've never been someone to do a one-night stand or just hook up randomly. I have to actually like someone in order to sleep with them. And part of that is because I don't drink anymore so that factors into it.
GM: Will your persona be that person even when you're doing the sex show for Comedy Central?
NG: Yeah, I'm definitely going to be myself. I think my perspective is that nothing really shocks me and I'm not judgmental. I think that's more of what's important rather than me being this promiscuous girl. Because in my own sex life I'm very adventurous within my monogamous relationship. So I have a lot to talk about there. It's not just boring missionary sex every night. We do a lot of fun stuff. And also I just like to hear about stuff and I like to talk about stuff and I have opinions on it, so whether or not I'm sleeping around, I enjoy talking about sleeping around.
GM: Are you jealous of Amy's success?
NG: No. No, no, no. I'm her biggest fan. She's my best friend but I'm also kind of obsessed with her in terms of comedically. I watch everything she does. I love her so much. So no part of me is ever jealous. That's like being jealous of, like, Angelina Jolie. It's untouchable what she does. She's a different person and she does a different thing. I know there seem to be a lot of similarities but we're definitely a lot different and I don't get compared to it as much as I thought I would. So no, there's no jealousy. I honestly mean that and I wouldn't have thought that that would be the case for me when we first became friends in, like, 2007. If someone would have said, like, 'Amy's going to be like this and you're going to be here,' I would have been like, 'Oh my God, how am I going to handle that?' But it's not difficult. I want everything for her. She is like my big sister. I'm nothing but inspired by her.
GM: But you're the one who babysat for Jud Apatow.
NG: That's true. That is true.
GM: And now look. She's doing a movie that he's producing.
NG: Yeah, that he directed. And I'm in it as well. It was cool.
GM: When we spoke last time, he finally figured out or found out you did comedy, too. So now he gets it more?
NG: Yeah. We're very friendly now. We had a great time on set and he seemed to enjoy what I did. So yeah, I'm no longer just like a babysitter in his eyes, I'm sure. It was really fun. It was cool. It came full circle.
GM: When I saw Amy here a few weeks ago, she did a Wendy Liebman joke. I'm sure it was inadvertent.
NG: Oh. Yeah, it definitely was. I mean, she's not someone who would steal. What joke was it?
GM: It was, 'I'm old-fashioned. I like it when a man pays for sex." Only she didn't do the pause after 'pays' like Liebman does.
NG: Oh, right. I've heard that joke a lot from Amy. I didn't know it was a Wendy joke. Amy and I both love Wendy Liebman. I'm sure it's an unintentional thing that happened. It's a good joke. But definitely unintentional.
GM: There's a former Vancouver comedian who's now in Toronto. She was living in New York for a while, too, so you may know her: Jen Grant.
NG: Yes. I think we've met.
GM: She was in the news up here in all the big papers this past week. She was doing a corporate show. She was sexually harassed verbally by some lech and she couldn't continue. It really got to her. She described him as 'rapey'. She couldn't go after him because of the corporate rules. She was getting teary so she couldn't go on and walked off stage. She blogged about and then that made the papers and news shows. Has anything like that happened to you?
NG: Yeah. I've had a lot of times after shows guys say really disgusting and creepy, rapey things to me because they just have heard me talk so much and so openly about sex on stage, they think it's okay to continue the dialogue after the show. It's always very jarring. I get where it comes from. I know they're just stupid and that's why they do it and it's not malicious. They think they're just joking around. But yeah, I feel like I'm a lady in the streets and a freak on the stage. It hurts my feelings the way some guys think they can talk to me after they hear me talk on stage because I'm up there and I feel very empowered and I feel like I'm in control and I realize that some guys, all they hear is like, 'She's just a slut.' And it's disappointing. But they're just idiots. It's just ignorance; it's not what is really going on and that is not what my show is about. There was a specific time on stage when there was a guy in the front row that was just heckling me very softly. Literally only I could hear him. He was just saying things under his breath but he was right in the front row and it was a very low stage so I could hear everything. And he was saying really disgusting, perverted things. Every time I would say anything, he'd be like, 'Yeah, I'd like that.' Just stuff like that. I eventually lost my shit and was like, 'Get your shit and leave. You're done. Go!' And everyone was like, 'What is going on?' No one knew what I was talking about. I was like, 'He's whispering things under his breath. He's saying disgusting shit. Get your stuff and leave.' And I kicked him out. This was the first five minutes of the show and I completely had to stop the show to get him out because it was so disgusting and disturbing what he was doing because he couldn't take that a woman was on stage in control. He had to try to usurp that in some way. It was just infuriating. So it's only happened a handful of times but it's always just a disgusting, Neanderthal idiot.
GM: It sounds even creepier when he does it under his breath.
NG: Oh yeah. It was a very calculated thing that he was doing. He knew what he was doing. His friend didn't even hear him. It was insane. I'm sure he's raping out in the world today. I'm positive of it. He was awful.
GM: We talk about women having it tough in comedy and we think of it in terms of getting jobs and things like that, but there's this whole other thing you have to worry about.
NG: I don't really worry about it but it's there and it's not something that I'm like, 'Wow, men don't have to deal with this.' There's a lot of other things in comedy that I do feel that way about. I think it's just more of being a woman than a female comic. I think men are just creeps sometimes and you have to be cautious and live in fear a little bit because you can be raped at any second. I think the movie Wild displayed that very well. The whole time I'm watching that movie, I'm like, when is she going to be raped? It's just a constant thing. A woman out in the world by herself is not safe. So I think it's just more about being a woman than a standup. It sucks but most men aren't like that so that's the good thing.
GM: Spoiler alert: I haven't seen the movie but did she get raped?
NG: No, she does not. You're on the edge of your seat like, is she going to be raped? the entire time. It's crazy.
GM: And that was the effect they were going for? Or was it just in your mind?
NG: Um, it could have been just in my mind. Maybe I'm projecting because I live in fear of that. I don't live in fear of it but it's something I consider, and I don't think a lot of men understand that women have to consider, that when we're walking alone at night, it's a different situation. I asked one of the bouncers at the club to walk me home last night because there are a couple blocks in Seattle that are really scary and he couldn't understand why I wanted that. So I was like, 'Never mind!' and I had my feature act do it, which was nice of him because he was about to hook up with this chick and I pulled him away from her.
GM: That's something you have to be aware of.
NG: Yeah, I put the deadbolt on the hotel door every night. It's scary being a lady. A weak, weak lady. I just mean physically weak.
GM: You've done a lot of the talk shows. You didn't get to do Letterman, did you?
NG: No, I didn't get to be on Letterman, which is a shame. But I'm okay with it. Standup-wise, I know it's this right of passage but they're my least favourite standup sets to watch because they're just littered with applause. It's a very unnatural environment for a standup anyway being on a talk show, and then on Letterman everyone's in a suit or the girls are all dressed to the nines. It's just too much of a formal thing. I would have loved to have gotten to a point where I could have been on the couch on Letterman in my career, which is not terribly far away, I hope, but yeah, doing standup on there, it was kind of an easy pass for me. Not that I ever... I got asked to submit and stuff like that, but I was just never that eager to do it. I don't know why. Also you always hear the rumours that he doesn't even talk to you and you have the interaction with him right afterwards. I kind of like having the illusion that Letterman is cooler than he may be. He's amazing and he's my favourite but I'm okay with never having done it.
GM: Yeah, the applause is too much. Sometimes it's even after a set-up before the joke.
NG: Yeah, it'll be a set-up and it really messes up your timing because a lot of times you'll have a tag on a joke, which is a joke after a joke that emphasizes the original punchline, and you get a huge applause break after your punchline and then you say the tag and it just seems weird. A lot of times I see comedians on there just being like, 'Should I still do the tag? Is it worth it?' And they always do because comedians are greedy for laughs and it's always a mistake because by the time they do the tag, the audience has forgotten the punchline. It just doesn't work with the timing.
GM: And you've got lots of tags, I know that.
NG: Yeah. A lot of skin tags, too.
GM: You said you've written a lot in the last year and a half. You were last here in 2012, so three years ago. So lots of new jokes, I assume. Stylistically have you changed much?
NG: I'm still essentially the same. It's one of those things like gaining weight; you don't see it because you see yourself every day. But I'm better than I was in 2012. I'm much sharper and much more proficient. I'm better as a comic but my style is still the same. I would say from 2012 you may hear one or two jokes that were the same from my set then but they're just because they get me in to material and they're good jokes so why retire them? A lot of people haven't heard them. But I would say my set will be 100 percent different aside from maybe a couple lines that are just in other jokes that are new.
GM: By style, I meant your point of view. You do make confessional jokes but I mean more personal.
NG: Yeah, I think Louis has really inspired that kind of shift. Yeah, I share a lot of stuff about myself but I think that more than ever, I think that just becoming an older, more mature woman with opinions and seeing the injustices in the world, I take more of a stand about some stuff. I hope that people leave being, 'Oh, I learned something' or 'I'm going to look at that differently.' But I'm not standing on my soapbox up there. I'm just a more mature woman talking about stuff that matters to me now.