When you sit down with Nikki Glaser, get ready for things to get explicit. Her Comedy Central talk show, “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser,” is based on the assumption that sex is natural, sex is something we all experience and sex is funny enough to be the subject of a comedy show.
Glaser’s particular brand of sexually charged humor makes her the ideal host for a series that over the course of its first season has drawn sexual secrets out of its celebrity guests and put words in the mouths of porn stars. Below, she explains why “having no shame” is one of her strengths — even if it has gotten her into trouble.
Something I’ve noticed is that you bring your personal relationship into the show. I’m wondering, what is it that goes into that decision?
Whether I wanted it to come out, it always seems to just because I…I think that what I find interesting is hearing about people’s personal lives, especially celebrities — not that I consider myself one, but I’m not embarrassed to share stuff. I’m not a very private person, that’s kind of always where I go. Just sharing things that are either embarrassing or possibly relatable, searching for that laugh so that someone makes me feel less alone. Like, oh they laughed so they get what I’m saying. They don’t think I’m so weird. So I think it’s a way to make myself feel better and it’s also a way to connect with the audience, but it has gotten me in hot water before and I cannot stop doing it.
Danny Feld/Comedy Central
When you say it’s gotten you in hot water before, what do you mean by that?
I’ve talked about my relationship without consulting my boyfriend about whether or not he wants that talked about, and I’ve also taken a story that has happened with us and, for comedic purposes, exaggerated it or changed it in some way that made him look not great. So that has been a problem before.
My defense was that a good relationship isn’t funny. If you’re just like, “My boyfriend’s amazing and we’re perfect and everything is great,” it’s not funny. So I would make it seem worse than it was or I would make him seem worse than he was for humor. I took advantage of him in that way and I try not to do that anymore, as best as I can. But sometimes you want to get a laugh and you can hurt people in the process. So I’ve got to be careful.
What you’re describing, it sounds very natural for any comedian’s life.
Yes. You just convince yourself that it’s for a joke, but you’re getting out some anger that you’re not really dealing with. I think I deal with my anger toward my relationship or about my relationship or about my friendships or my family — I deal with it on stage in a passive aggressive way and that can be very harmful if it gets back to them, which it always does.
Do you feel any pressure to bring in your personal life?
I don’t, because I feel like my guests share enough of theirs, but I do think that that’s something that… Why the show works and why I have the show as opposed to anyone else is because I do share all of those things and I’m pretty transparent when it comes to my sex life and my personal life.
I think that that is one of my strengths, having no shame. So, it’s not like I intentionally go there and I think, “Oh I’ve got to reveal this really disgusting thing about myself,” but I think it just comes out because I think honestly it’s always the funniest. It’s really freeing for me, because I was a very insecure person growing up and I think that I just kept all of these things inside because I thought no one would ever relate. It’s my way of kind of dealing with my insecurities, I think. It’s been really healthy for me at least.
In general, given how many shows are on television right now, especially hosted shows in the same genre, how important is that level of honesty?
I think that some people… like, Jimmy Fallon is a very guarded talk show host and doesn’t share much of himself. Jimmy Fallon’s strengths are that he’s fun and he’s good at impressions and he’s musically inclined. And my strength is that I’m a joke writer, but I also have no filter and I think that that’s not a talent per se, but it’s just a thing about myself that I have found that people like about what I do.
So, I think that it’s not something where I intentionally am like, “I’ve got to share everything” or “Oh, I’m out of stuff. I’ve got to go do something fucked up.” It’s more that it just comes out of me naturally and the second it stops being fun for people or people are repulsed by it, I will stop. For now, I feel less alone with myself when people can write to me and be like, “I can’t believe you said that. I do that too.” Even if it’s just one person out of millions who watch. I just have a need to get things out.
You do that naturally, of course. But, in the long run, is there anything in your head about making sure that doing so makes you stand out?
No. There’s nothing about it that I think is a special thing. It just is what comes naturally to me and it’s just the type of sense of humor that I’ve developed. It’s what I find funny and it’s what I enjoy most in comics — brutal honesty. It’s what I do.