Glaser talks DWTS, radio show before hitting Raleigh stage
Improving herself -- on stage, on her radio show, in life in general -- seems to be a constant goal for stand-up comedian Nikki Glaser, and the fact that she isn't always successful in that endeavor likely endears her fans to her even more.Posted — Updated
After landing a spot on "Dancing with the Stars" last year, the Cincinnati-born, St. Louis-raised Glaser was on her way to even higher show business heights, and then she was the first celebrity voted off the show.
“The worst thing I thought could have happened did happen,” Glaser said during a Tuesday afternoon interview.
Despite that very public setback, Glaser persevered, and one could argue she’s better off for it. As I learned during our interview and from being an avid You Up listener, Glaser didn’t dwell on the embarrassment of making such an early exit from the dance competition.
Instead, she took pride in the leap she was willing to take just by trying something most wouldn’t or couldn’t, and says she is grateful for the opportunity. If that isn’t proper perspective, I don’t know what is.
In addition to Dancing with the Stars, Glaser and I discussed the evolution of her radio show, why oversharing is one of her strengths, the connective power of comedy and more.
That’s what I learned but I also learned, don’t convince yourself when you do something scary that the worst thing won’t happen. Statistically, it will happen to some people and you had a one in 13 chance of being voted off first. You actually had a better chance because you’re a terrible dancer, and it happened. [interviewer laughs] Still, everything’s fine.
There was a part of me that was like, “Maybe if I say enough nice things about them they’ll have me back for like a losers show or something.” [interviewer laughs] There was also incentive to not badmouth a network that had been so good to me, until they voted me off. Ultimately, I would have said something bad about it had I felt bad about it. I just made peace with it. I was like, “OK, that was fun. I wish it would have lasted longer but I’m not gonna be like a bitter girl that got broken up with.” That’s never a good look.
I really just enjoy it, and I think that is the secret to it. There were elements of the show that I wasn’t enjoying, and I changed things to make it so that I leaned toward a format and a type of discussion that I enjoy. It might not always be a show that has you doubled over laughing but that’s there anyway because I have funny people on. I wanted to lean more toward, “Let’s talk about real stuff and have a funny twist with it.”
I know my strengths are oversharing. … As a host, you want to pretend everything’s fine. You watch Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, David Letterman, their personal lives are not on display. Of course, I want to be looked at as a viable late night host someday so there was real apprehension on my part to reveal too much and to be too vulnerable and just say, “Oh, I’m depressed today” but the thing is, I am depressed some days. When I have let that out, I’ve left the show thinking, “Why did I even talk about that? That’s such depressing radio. Nobody wants to hear you complaining about your awesome life.”
Instead of people saying those things I think they’re thinking, people have said, “I relate to what you’re going through and thank you for talking about that.” I get that kind of feedback, so I really leaned into being honest about my feelings and trying to expect the same from my guests. I have a talent for getting people to talk about their feelings. It’s not a talent I try to hone to take advantage of people. It’s a power I have that not a lot of people have so I like to use it for good.
Last week, a fan came to one of my live shows and her boyfriend said, “She always tells me things that you told her. She’ll say like, ‘Nikki told me this’ and I go, ‘You’re not friends with Nikki. What are you talking about? You don’t hang out with her.’ And (the girlfriend) goes, ‘But I feel like I do!’”
I was like, “Girl, I do the same thing with people who I listen to and love.” It feels like you’re friends with the person. The fact that I might make anyone feel that way or make people feel in on something that they wouldn’t normally feel in on, I just want to make people feel good. I just want to do a show that makes people feel good.
An old man will be like, “Your show gets me through hard times.” This old man who I think I would have nothing in common with found something in my show. That human experience is what I’m trying to tap into. I’m not trying to do girl comedy. I’m not trying to do liberal comedy. I’m just trying to tap into truth-telling.
So many Americans are so repressed about our feelings and so ashamed of our depression. We don’t want to seem selfish by going to therapy. We’re so closed off and a lot of times humor is used to mask that. Let’s make jokes before anyone can really talk about what’s really going on. It can be such a defense mechanism, but I like to use it as, let’s talk about the real (expletive) but then make fun of it. Let’s not use comedy as a scapegoat. Let’s use it to get in there and mess around with what’s really plaguing all of us which is, it’s hard to be a human. … We’re all fighting battles within us and we don’t talk about it. I like talking about it because I think that’s the only way to get on the other side of it.
I learn so much from the feedback both on and off stage. Sometimes I’ll tell a joke like, “Girls, we all do this, right?” Then I’ll go, “Oh wait, you’re not laughing because you do it too. You’re laughing because it’s weird that I do it.” [interviewer, Glaser laugh] There’s something refreshing about that too.