Nikki Glaser has certainly been keeping busy in the last few years.
In the year since we last talked to her about her podcast, she has a bunch of new projects coming out. For starters, her HBO Max reality show FBoy Island just came back for a second season. On top of that, she did another reality show that premiered this last spring, titled Welcome Home Nikki Glaser, that saw her moving in with her parents in St. Louis.
Now, Nikki Glaser has a new stand-up special out, titled Good Clean Filth. This is her first special since 2019, and her first special for HBO after previously doing a special for Netflix. In the special, Nikki “dishes about sex, dating dos and don’ts, and private parts in her first HBO comedy special. It’s sex ed like you’ve never seen it before.” The new hour – which was filmed in Denver, Colorado – has been well received so far by comedy fans alike. And like her previous specials, with Nikki Glaser, there really isn’t holding anything back when it comes to certain topics. And that’s part of the fun of watching a Nikki Glaser special. To see just how far and just how candid she will get.
We recently spoke with Nikki about the return of FBoy Island, what about it appeals to her, how she generated material for her new hour, her response to social media backlash, and how a joke she told before the pandemic more or less came true.
Give me a little background, what appealed to you about doing that show?
Honestly the title, because I saw the title on a list of shows that were looking for hosts that went out. My agent sent it out awhile beforehand. It was one of many tv shows that were going to be produced. I saw FBoy Island and I go “Do they know that’s funny?”. I didn’t know but I remember I got a call from Elon Gale who created the show. One of the creators and he did the, I knew him from The Bachelor, I used to do The Bachelor after show. He always knew I was a Bachelor fan, and we were friendly on Twitter and stuff.
So he was like “Can I call you?”. And he called and was like “Hey I really think you’d be great for the show FBoy Island.” And I thought he was asking me to be on the show as one of the girls looking for love, so I was Stoked!!! I was like Finally someone wants me to be on a reality show. And then he was very clear about it being a hosting gig. Which I was even more excited about because as soon as I knew he was the creator, I knew he was a funny person, so I knew FBoy was indeed being funny and that name alone and the concept of it which was 3 girls are looking for love and there’s 30 guys there 26 for the season. 13 of them are f-boys, which are guys that are just there to win the cash prize at the end and try to trick these girls into thinking they’re there for love. And then 13 of the guys are actually good guys that are there. They want a relationship, haven’t been cheaters, are nice guys, but they all look like f-boys.
That’s the thing. They’re are all oiled up and have great bodies and a lot of gel in their hair and live off grilled chicken breast and broccoli. So that’s the show. The concept of the show is already so funny and the fact that they said “We want you to be the host and we want you to make fun of it” was just, it was the greatest call of my life.
I mean FBoy Island is one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever done in terms of just shooting a show and just being a part of a series that people seem to like. And that was my first opportunity to be in the reality space and do it my way, which was take it seriously because it is actually serious. There are people actually falling in love. You might not think they are, but believe me, they are. But they’re also calling it out for being so stupid and insane and kind of a prison experiment in many ways.
Right absolutely. It’s such a great concept. And so I’m sure you were excited to get the call to go back for season two of the show.
It was the first show that I’ve been on and that I’ve been a part of that got picked up for a second season while it was still on. So, I knew it was a hit and so exciting that people were like “We want more Niki.” Because usually when I do things, people are like “She’s too much. She’s enough.” So it was nice that people wanted more of me. So in the second season, I think they do get more of me, and I hope that they like it.
But it was just nice to be a part of something that people were not ashamed to embrace, even though you know reality tv tends to make people a little nervous about proclaiming their love for a show that is called FBoy Island. I’m glad people were proud to like it.
They are. And then you got to go from being on one reality show to doing your own on E!.
I pitched my own reality show to E! and they bought the pilot, and I taped that right before I left for FBoy 1. S- o you know it was something I had filmed one episode of reality show on my own – but I didn’t know if it was going to air. We shot my first season of my show Welcome Home Niki Glaser in between FBoy 1 and FBoy 2. So, by the time I was doing FBoy 2, I was like “This is all that.” I’m now in front of the camera as a host and a subject matter. It gave me a lot more empathy for what they were going through the cast members, and it made for a more fun freeing experience.
The more you do anything, the more comfortable you are and the better it is. I don’t like going into anything nervous or thinking “Do I deserve to be here?”. And FBoy 2 is fun for me because I was like “Yeah, this is my show that I helped make a success and they want me here and I know what I’m doing.” I felt very confident.
Now let’s talk about your special. This is the first special you’ve done in 3 years. Tell me a bit about how it came together. Were you trying to do another special sooner, prior to COVID?
Yeah, I could have done one sooner. To be honest with you, I don’t really look at my material. I don’t write down my jokes. I don’t really time out how much time I have. I know that have a fuck ton of material because I get bored with jokes very easily and I write onstage, which is a lazier way to write. But I write both onstage and offstage, and I do so many shows that I can’t help but just generate new material because I get bored and I have to come up with new things to say. And I have realized, over the years, I have a really good brain for writing on the spot and remembering the way I said it so that it’s all up here. If I ever get a traumatic brain injury, it will be the end of me. It’s not anywhere. I don’t write anything down.
But yeah. It’s been a while since I did a special. I did two. The Netflix hour in 2019 and I also gave them another half hour special for The Degenerates. So I did an hour and a half that year. And then I had room for another honestly pretty soon after because I was on tour. And you can’t do that material, so you are quick to make new stuff. So, for this special, I was pulling from pre-pandemic material that I had taken on tour and then post-pandemic material that I had developed in the year after the clubs kind of started opening again and outdoor space. So, it’s an amalgamation of both those comics, which I was a different comic before than I was after. I still cared about the same things, but different opinions about those things. Like there’s certain subjects where I’m talking about, and I had a fully formed idea about something before the pandemic and then afterwards I’m exploring the same concept, but I have the exact opposite opinion of it.
I’m really not very facetious or organized when it comes to my material. So the special you are going to see with Good Clean Filth was really the material I enjoyed doing the most at the time. I shot the special, which is a completely random thing. You know you get a special, HBO says “We want you to do one,” and I freak out because the HBO Special is just another feather in my cap that I haven’t gotten yet. And I just love FBoy Island, which I did with HBO. So I just knew it was a good place. But really, it was just “Okay. I’ll pick a place. I’m on tour in November and we should shoot it because that works out production wise. Where am I on tour? Oh I’m in this town, this town, this town. Oh Denver would be cool. I’ve never done one there. What theatre am I in? Oh, that looks pretty. That would be cool to shoot a special. Oh now we are doing it November 28th. Okay getting ready for that.” It’s just me going on tour then and I would say waiting two weeks beforehand saying, “What order should it be in? Which jokes should make the cut?”.
Because I had been in the weeds with my Netflix special. I did way too much material and then when I tried to edit it, it had been a freaking nightmare and was the worst experience of my life. I hate watching myself because I compare it to watching a sex tape. I cannot do it and that’s why I don’t put clips on my Instagram. I really struggle with it. So for me, editing a special is excruciating and I wanted this one to be like no edit. I just memorize the set and we do it. But I was also shooting my reality show right before the special and I didn’t have time to really organize it the way I wanted to. So, it ended up being a mishmash that I struggled editing for months and months. This is why this is coming out in July and not March. I am so grateful I got that time because you don’t get to edit your stand-up sets. Whenever you do them, they are just what they were. And god, there were times where I’m on stage and I’m like “I wish I would have said this because they needed to be eased in to understand this next one.” With that, I was able to have fun with the editing of this special and study what I do like and what do that I don’t like. I learned a lot.
I am really proud of it, but watching it, I’m embarrassed because I talk about such profane things and sometimes, I talk about really gratuitous sexual things. Never just to shock. I mean, it’s always for educational purposes and to be fun of course. But it is uncomfortable to see me talk [like that]. It is like watching a sex tape. Like “You are 38-year-old woman. Do you want a boyfriend who’s not an orphan? Because no one’s family is going to accept you into their life if you talk like this.” I really do sometimes feel like how a pornstar feels when they try to have a normal life, because it’s hard for me to exist when the way I talk in the special… Even though I stand by what I said and I’m proud to be a sex comic because it’s good to be honest about it. There is a little bit of like, “I have really learned to leave it all out there on stage.” But when it is documented, it’s something I am very uncomfortable with because stand-up is supposed to be this live art you can consume in a club. And when you do a special, you’re like, “Oh boy. I have to be accountable for this”. So, there is a little fear in that. But it’s good because I need to feel nervous and scared to enjoy this business. The second it becomes easy, we need to go do a challenge.
You know I went topless onstage this past weekend because I was working with Bert Kreischer and I was like “I want to take off my shirt. Like what’s that going to add to it?”. I loved it, because I am so aware my shirt is off, I’m scared about what they’re thinking, I’m sucking in. I’m also like “Who cares?”. It’s freeing in some weird liberating “F*ck the patriarchy” way. When I used to smoke weed before, I liked doing it because I might forget my joke and that fear of talking and not having anything to say would light me up inside. So, I’m feeling those feelings about releasing the special again, like “Oh no. What’s going to happen? Who’s going to disagree with me? Who’s going to offended?”. But it’s what I love about this.
Do you actually care, though, about what they say on social media?
Yeah. My biggest fear is comedians thinking I’m not funny or thinking I’m a gimmicky comic. I know I’m not and I know that I’m a good comic. There are certain comics that we all know are hacks and we tolerate them, and they are popular, and we won’t tell that to their face. We all secretly know who the hacks are. And I know I’m not one of those hacks because I am a person who is able to identify the hacks. Thus, I can see that I am not. But I do worry about the “Oh, she is just a sex comic. She’s a one trick pony, a one trick donkey show”. So, I do worry about comedians dismissing me because of that.
You know, I am pretty much my own critic. When I watch people do stand-up, all I do is nit-pick. I’ll go, “I really like that she did that, I’m jealous of that and now I’m threatened by her and don’t watch the rest.” Or I’m like “Oh, that was such a lame joke. What an easy gimmick to get the audience to like them more and to convince you that you are funnier than you are.” I try not to do those things, but I am sure I do some that someone could call me out for. But my worst nightmare is a comedian watching my special going, “Oh god. That old trick. Oh yeah that old road hack trick”. For example, the comedy fans listening to this, when a comedian mugs after a joke, that really disgusts me. They they will do a punch line and go “And it was a red wheelbarrow”.[Nikki mugs on Zoom]. There are acts out there that I love and there are reaction faces that I utilize that are so important and crucial to comedy. But there are some that egregiously used, and they are to manipulate the audience to thinking your funnier than you are. That’s my biggest fear. The back of the room, what other comedians will say about me and what I will say is I tried my best. I’m trying to do comedy that is funny, but I also do care about talking to younger girls.
What I will say is funny will always come first and should come first. But a close second for me is trying to make people feel less alone and to be able to laugh at things that they think only they struggle with. That really is my goal. So if someone thinks I’m not funny, it’s fine as long as I make some girl out there less afraid, or some guy out there feel less embarrassed about some sexual hang up they have. That was kind of my goal with this.
I love that. And I have to bring this up. Seeing that what happened this past weekend [when Roe v Wade got overturned], one joke in particular stuck out when I watched your special. You make a comment at one point that said “This is how women will communicate when we lose all of our rights.” And that seems a lot more prophetic when I’m watching it today.
Well, it’s interesting that you marked that because I don’t remember if I left it in but I also said “I’ll beheaded in the town square in two years when he comes back.” But that was part of that joke. You can print that. After that joke dies out where I talk about us losing our rights and being handmaids and you know longing for the chance to commit suicide, so we don’t have to live like handmaids like, all this really dark sh*t about the future of women in America and probably women worldwide, I say, “That joke will probably get me hung in town square and when he comes back in two years”. Then someone yelled out “Trump”.
I really try to avoid politics on stage, because I don’t want to know which audience members aren’t on my side when it comes to stuff. And by my side I mean like humanity’s side and it makes me not like my audience. So I try not to get political. The material I was working on before the pandemic – and I’m not joking – was all of this stuff about wanting to find a husband before the end of the world because are going to have to go into bunkers and live with each other and I don’t really want to have a kid because I will have to home school that child because there won’t be teachers during the apocalypse. Then it all happened. Like I saw parents going like “I have to babysit, hangout with my kid 24 hours a day,” and that was my joke. “I don’t want to have a kid because I think the world is going to collapse, society will collapse, and I will have to be in a bunker with a kid all day long and I can’t be a good mother that way.”
I saw that happen. I’m glad you cited that part of the special. Ironically at one point I say, “I’m giving a sex talk to your daughter and if I ever have a daughter, I’ll drown her and wait for a son but if I’m forced to have a daughter because of water wars and we don’t have water to drown her in, I will tell her”. But that is a joke and me playing a character of a twat. But there is something to that I like that there is a feminist undertone to what I am saying because I don’t want to alienate men with my comedian, I don’t want to be an angry feminist on stage. But I am an angry feminist so it’s okay if it slips out. If I can make it funny than good and it’s a little more palatable.