Comedian Nikki Glaser to play Joliet
Last updated 1/13/2023 at 9:04pm
In July of 2022, Nikki Glaser headlined her own HBO special, 'Good Clean Filth', which has been nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy Special, she has been one of the stars of Comedy Central roasts of Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis and Rob Lowe and even guest hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live, and on Jan. 21, the St. Louis native will make the four-hour trip from her home to do a pair of shows at downtown Joliet's historic Rialto Square Theater on her current 'The Good Girl Tour,' which kicked off earlier this month.
Tickets are available through the Rialto box office or Ticketmaster.com.
Growing up in Missouri and graduating from the University of Kansas, Glaser is as Midwest as it gets and she looks forward to telling jokes to people she knows she will relate to.
"It feels like these are my people," she said. "I know what makes these people laugh because I grew up around them. My sense of humor was built in the Midwest – nice, but undercutting it with humor.
"People in the Midwest are always known for being super nice, but then we talk a ton of shit behind your back and my comedy has that vibe to it. I am a really nice person and my act is very honest and cutting and can be brutal at times."
Glaser currently resides in St. Louis, so the short drive to Joliet also has her looking forward to the shows.
"It is also so nice not to have to travel far for a gig. Traveling cuts into my mood and it is tiresome when you travel all day and then have to do a show at night. It makes for a better show when you don't have to travel very far," she said. "It is just a quick jaunt over there. Doing two shows is always nice because the demand is there."
Glaser returned to the Gateway City after leaving New York during the COVID-19 pandemic when she said she got a taste of what it would feel like to be one of the many comedians today that fall victim to cancel culture – often times because of something said years earlier.
"I lived with my parents during COVID because I didn't want to live alone and I was living in New York City and it was kind of scary during COVID, so I lived in St. Louis and I thought, 'This is what I would do if I was cancelled and its pretty sweet,' " she said. "I like my parents and I like living is St. Louis. I live there now and I kind of live that cancelled lifestyle. I am also good with money and spending because I know someday it will all be taken away. I will be OK either way – my ego will take a hit, but I will recover."
With her life prepared for the worst, Glaser is at her best with a sense of freedom with her material.
"Right now, I feel a lot of freedom," she said. "Two years ago, I think it was scary, but the cancel culture has kind of calmed down. And, I saw so many of my friends legit cancelled for good reason and they are still working. That is the great thing about comedy, you can just do it on a podcast and don't need a network.
"People are really into freedom of speech and they rally around you if you are cancelled and you almost get a whole fan base from it."
Glaser finds herself performing in an era where she is among a group of pre-40-year-old, attractive females who tell jokes that society only expects from the men.
"You have to be more sneaky about what you say," Glaser said. "I came up doing stand-up in St. Louis and Kansas City and everyone wanted to be Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison – just filthy and raunchy and they were still holding on that Andrew Dice Clay vibe of just saying the most awful things and I was raised with that," Glaser said. "I kind of liked it because when you first start comedy, you don't get laughs because you are bad, so you just want a reaction and any kind of groan is better than no laugh. I was trained to just say the most shocking thing and get groans.
"Now, you can't get away with all of that, and I am kind of glad. I still talk about the same things - I even think I can talk about things I couldn't get away with back then because I didn't have the skill set to communicate it in a funny way. If you make something funny enough, you can really say anything - I really believe that. People can't cancel you if they are laughing because their laughter kind of give credibility to it.
"Sarah Silverman was the first person that I saw that could be disgusting and still be adorable. I am a vain woman that wants people to think I am adorable. Being adorable is probably more important to me than being funny. I still want to be a girl and embrace that side of me, but I also have a desire to talk like boys do – I have my whole life. As a child, I would make the same jokes my boy cousins made and the parents would roll their eyes at them and I would get yelled at and reprimanded. So, when I saw Sarah do it, I knew I could do it and have everything I want. So, she really paved the way for me and for many other women. Now, there is a whole subgenre of hot girls telling jokes."
Glaser's act pushes the audience into the world of uncomfortable subjects, but she said she knows she is only saying what the audience is thinking.
"I might say some offensive things about taboo subjects, but I am just saying what I think. I am not saying what I think is the right thing. You want to latch onto things that others see, but can't articulate or don't have the balls to say it," Glaser said. "That is the fine art of comedy now – being able to deliver the stuff you want to say and deliver it in a way that people don't see it coming or they can't nab you for it because you are just being honest. I am not scared of being cancelled anymore, because I just know I don't hate any group of people and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so anything I do a joke about is not coming from a place of hate, it is coming from a place of – hey, I noticed this.
"I do a joke about a person in a wheelchair and people get tense about it. I don't know why it is so weird – I am just saying they are in a wheelchair, I didn't say anything bad about it. They are the ones acting like being in a wheelchair is bad or there is something to be ashamed of – I don't think that it is. It is hypocritical that if you see a dog with wheels for legs, you can go, 'Oh my God, what happened? It's so cute, can I take a picture?' But, if it's a person, you have to act like you don't see it and everything is normal. I am tired of living in a world where everything is fine when it's not."
A lot of Glaser's act involves maybe the most taboo, yet most relatable topic there is – sex.
"We don't talk about sex, but why? It is the reason why we are motivated to do everything. I exist because mom and dad had sex. It's the reason everyone has a job because they want to have sex eventually. And if you don't like sex, that is a part of your identity that you don't like it," Glaser said. "I just like to call out things that no one is talking about and I want to normalize them. I am not trying to be edgy or I am trying to make people uncomfortable. I am don't the opposite – I am trying to make people feel more comfortable about the things people have shame about."
While Glaser does not think cancel culture will be the end of her career, she fears that mother nature might be.
"I feel that as I get older, people are looking for any reason to get rid of you because they don't want to look at your face anymore because it's falling off you skull and they only want youth and beauty," she said. "The second men don't want to have sex with you, they are looking for a reason to get you off TV. If they don't think you are bangable anymore, they will look for a reason to cancel you."
That fear, she said, is something all comedians have.
"As comedians, we are all kind of scared at someone taking it away because we are so lucky that this is our life," Glaser said. "We are paid millions of dollars for telling dick jokes and we are always afraid that people will catch on that we are a fraud.
"It is a human condition to have a brain that thinks really awful things and thank God as a comedian, you get to say that into a microphone and not get arrested."