Name the comic: she’s blond; talks about her vagina, sex, and relationships; is a great joke-writer whose post-punchline tags are worthy of her comedy idol Wendy Liebman; has been on Last Comic Standing, Inside Amy Schumer, the standup special Women Who Kill, and a recent episode of The Bachelorette; and will be seen in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, which is set for release this July.
If you guessed Amy Schumer, the hottest name in comedy right now, you’re right. But that’s not who I’m thinking of. Schumer’s the name on everyone’s mind, but Nikki Glaser also fits the bill. She is equally funny but only fractionally as well-known, and happens to be best friends with Schumer. She must be filled with envy, right?
“I’m her biggest fan,” Glaser says over the phone from a hotel in Seattle, where she’s headlining prior to her upcoming dates at Yuk Yuk’s. “She’s my best friend, but I’m also kind of obsessed with her 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. So there’s no jealousy. I honestly mean that and I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case when we first became friends in, like, 2007. If someone had said, ‘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.”
Glaser had an in with Apatow years ago but wasn’t able to land a role in one of his movies. She used to baby-sit Apatow’s kids. He didn’t know—or maybe didn’t let on that he knew—that she did comedy at night. When he was casting for Funny People, Glaser finally decided she was in Hollywood to make it in show business, not to be the best nanny, so she screwed up the nerve to email him and ask for an audition, which he finally granted after three weeks. She didn’t get the part.
But now, thanks to her best bud—who stars in and wrote Trainwreck—Glaser has finally got a role in an Apatow flick.
“We’re very friendly now,” she says of her former boss. “We had a great time on set and he seemed to enjoy what I did. So, yeah, I’m no longer just, like, a baby sitter in his eyes, I’m sure. It was really fun. It was cool. It came full circle.”
Since the demise of her MTV late-night talk show Nikki & Sara Live in November 2013, Glaser’s been headlining comedy clubs across North America almost every weekend. The Straight caught up with her the week former Vancouver comedian Jen Grant’s story about sexually abusive heckling hit the news. For someone like Glaser, who not only frankly and glibly jokes about all manner of sex, but also has a green-lit sex show in development for Comedy Central, might the slime factor be even higher from the Neanderthals in the crowd?
“It’s only happened a handful of times, but it’s always just disgusting,” the 31-year-old says. “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.” More common are unsavoury off-stage encounters.
“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,” she says. “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.”
Glaser notes that her act has changed since she last visited us in 2012. She’s still joke-heavy, but the jokes have become more pointed.
“I’m not standing on my soapbox up there,” she says. “I’m just a more mature woman talking about stuff that matters to me now.”
And if there’s any justice, one day soon she’ll be as big as her best friend.
Nikki Glaser plays Yuk Yuk’s from Thursday to Saturday (June 4 to 6).