At some point in life, we’re all given the “birds and the bees” talk. Generally, it comes from our parents, or maybe a health teacher at school. After that, sex isn’t viewed as a common topic of socially acceptable conversation. Nikki Glaser is here to change that.
One of Comedy Central’s newest shows, “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser” is like the birds and the bees conversation on steroids. From expanding sexting emojis to improvising porn dialogue, Nikki Glaser is entirely unafraid to discuss every sexual topic under the sun.
Why? Because everybody’s doing it. No, she’s not trying to peer pressure you into anything, so your junior high D.A.R.E. officer can rest easy. She simply knows that sex is not uncommon, and it shouldn’t be frowned upon. So, in a hilarious and frank way, she’s going to talk about it. We got Nikki on the phone to discuss her show and how it came to be, as well as what it’s like to be a female comedian in today’s world.
So, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser. I’ve seen it, why is it called “Not Safe,” it seems VERY kid-friendly right?
(laughs). Well, originally the title, when we made the pilot, was “Not Safe For Work.” But we wanted it to stand out a little bit from that phrase, so we just named it “Not Safe.” It just seemed to be fitting. And yes, of course, we try to be not safe. We try to stand by that at some points, and do things you won’t see anywhere else on TV.
Yes, you cover risqué topics, lots of sex talk. Why do you think that’s so important for viewers to see on television?
Because it’s something we’re all doing, and it’s something our parents all did to make us. So I don’t know why we act like it doesn’t exist. And it’s also so fun. (laughs). It’s an interesting topic. I just did an interview with a woman and you could tell she was just not into what I do, and pretty offended by the stuff I talk about, and that’s why I do it – to stick it to people like that who are just so uptight. It’s just, it’s not good for our society to be so shameful about sex. It breeds a lot of sneaky sexual behavior, that makes people feel ashamed. And then it also, you know, you can’t talk about things frankly. And so you don’t talk about things and people could get hurt in the process. We’re all doing it! What other thing do we all do and not talk about? I guess bathroom stuff, but that’s not interesting. That only goes, really, three different ways. (laughs). Sex, there’s many different ways.
Have you gotten any reactions from fans that have really made you think, ‘I’m glad I’m doing this, I’m making a difference for someone’?
Yes! I mean I talked about my vagina in one episode, which, you know, I’m not proud of. Well, I am now. But at a time I used to hate my vagina. I thought I needed surgery to make it look trim and taut like every other porn vagina I had seen. I was like, oh, mine has to be this little tiny thing. And I know from speaking about it on stage that it is important when girls hear me talk about how my vagina looks a certain way, and how ‘fine’, and ‘who cares’ and my experience about it. Because when I was 20, I thought I was a freak and I was like, “I can never show this to anybody.” So, speaking up about labiaplasty, and why you shouldn’t do it just for cosmetic reasons, I got a lot of response. I got so many girls saying “Thank you for that, I was just about to make a consultation and I decided to not do it” and that meant a lot to me.
That’s awesome! Now, when the show first came about, how did that idea even come to you? Was it just like “Hey let’s make a show, because no one talks about this, so let’s do that”?
That definitely was a part of it, because you know, every talk show has been done. Every kind of show has been done, and certainly a sex talk show has been done before. But, it really came down to let’s do a show…my boyfriend and I came up with the show. We met doing Nikki and Sara Live, my boyfriend is Sara. (laughs). No, but we were just trying to brainstorm and he was just like “Let’s just figure out a show where you will like going into work every day and you’ll enjoy the topics.” And he was like “Well you’re one of the biggest perverts I know” and he means that in a loving sense, that I just openly talk about sex, I’m curious about hearing people’s proclivities. And it made total sense! It was like, yeah let’s do a sex talk show that isn’t a bunch of girls around a table being like “Oh I’m a Samantha” you know? Let’s do a show that talks about sex frankly, because we’re all doing it, and it’s so funny and so weird, and so…awesome!
I’ve read that you say you enjoy putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. Has that always been the case? Or was it a later in life kind of deal?
I don’t know that I enjoy it, but I just know that it leads to good television. I enjoy talking about things that make other people uncomfortable. I don’t like to confront people with it and make them answer to it. But I enjoy the fact that my show upsets some stuck up people. I like that. Because it means that I’m saying something that could lead to some kind of change. I’m not following the status quo and I think that you always need to be challenging that, because we need to grow. (laughs). Nothing will change if you don’t actually upset some people. I don’t like doing hidden camera pieces where I’m tricking people or I’m pranking people, I don’t like that kind of thing. When it comes to these social issues, or talking to Trump supporters, I don’t mind ruffling a few feathers, when I know that I’m on the right side of things.
I’m sure you always get this question, but you are a female comic and you are talking about sex on television. How has that been an obstacle and shaped what you do?
It’s only been an obstacle in the sense that now, it’s so easy for people who are scared of – who don’t like women pretty much – to just say “Oh, all female comics talk about is sex, because they have nothing else to say. They just talk about their vaginas.” It’s an easy way to write off what we as female comics have to say. And so I see that a lot online like “Oh, you’re SO fascinating, why don’t you talk about something else.” And you know what? I will, when I have something else that interests me. And guess what, the topic of the show is what I, you know, I have to talk about that stuff, it’s what I’m doing. I think the only hurdle has been, at first, female comics talking about sex was taboo because only men did that. And now it seems like people think that that’s all we talk about. So, we can’t win at all. Men talk about sex with women, but as soon as we talk about it, we can’t. It’s like, why do YOU get to talk about it? They want control of the discussion, and don’t want to hear our opinions about it. And I’m not talking all men by ANY means. I’m talking like a small faction of people on Reddit where I read comments, and I just get so incensed at the fact that they can just write us all off. That’s the hurdle I’m facing right now.
In terms of sexism in comedy, and being a female comic, I’ve found that it’s been an extreme pleasure to be a female comic. (laughs). Most of my friends are female comedians, and it’s just a great group to be a part of. Smart, brave, strong women. And I’ve never looked at myself as a “female comic” but now I’m kind of starting to and I love it! Because it’s a good group to be in. My favorite comics are female comics, so I’m proud to be one.
You’re in good company on Comedy Central. Amy Schumer, Broad City…Do you guys have this takeover plan written out? You’ve all got your own shows now, are you just slowly but surely taking over?
(laughs). I think Comedy Central just realized that, with Amy’s show, their male audience was into it! And that they could garner a new female audience. So I think that Amy set a precedent, as well as Sarah Silverman did when she had her show. People aren’t as scared of female comedy. The fact of the matter is we’re just good at it! We have something to say, and we happen to be good at it. Just as a lot of men have something to say and are good at comedy. We can be too, and just because a woman is the head of a show, doesn’t mean men aren’t gonna watch it. I think Comedy Central is just savvy in that way, that they noticed that it didn’t matter. So they were like, yeah let’s give women shows, like Another Period with Natasha and Riki. They have tons of women on their network, and it’s just a great place to be as a woman.
What is a girls night with female comics even like? Do you just make each other pee laughing the whole time?
Sometimes! If me, Amy, Rachel and Bridget ever are all hanging out, we’ve taken a quiz about being introverts before. (laughs). We just talk about our lives in really deep ways and we sit around in blankets, we’re pretty boring. I don’t drink, but they all sip on some wine. We’ll just laugh and talk about our relationships, and really get into some nitty-gritty stuff, and just share notes about boys. I think it’s like any other slumber party I’ve had at any point in my life. We just talk and laugh. And I’ve always had funny friends, so this isn’t new for me. I feel like my friends in high school made me laugh just as hard as my friends now. So, it’s just a dream.
Also these girls…we’re all at different levels in our careers, you know? Amy, obviously, is at this new hype, but it all seems to be the same. We have the same issues and no one really is that different. I’ve been friends with Amy since she was just starting comedy, and she hasn’t changed. She’s just rich now. (laughs). But she has not changed, she’s just the same. We all are just the same girls we were in high school. We felt like we were weirdos, which I don’t think by any means makes us unique, I feel like every girl feels like they’re weirdos. But we definitely are very much in touch with how we felt like outcasts and that’s what we talk about! We just talk about boys, and then we’ll watch a marathon of Dating Naked on VH1. We consume idiotic television and talk about boys. (laughs).
You did a bit in one of your shows, debunking gay stereotypes. Are there any stereotypes or myths about comedians that you can debunk or confirm?
Great! I will debunk, and I think most people know this, but we don’t come up with everything in the moment. We repeat material, because we have to, and that’s how you build an act. We are not all funny off stage, I get that a lot. Like when I tell someone I’m a comedian, because I don’t want to lie. It sucks because when you’re on a plane and someone goes “What do you do for a living” I just want to lie because I don’t want to deal with the response which is…
Tell a joke, say something funny!
Yeah! Either “tell a joke” or “I wouldn’t think you’re a comedian, you haven’t said anything funny yet.” We’re not always ‘on.’ Here’s a thing that I love to tell people! No comedian is too famous to be told, “Hey, you were funny tonight.” Ever. Our self-esteem is constantly needing to be replenished. Like I remember one time Chris Rock got off stage and I was at the Comedy Cellar, I was waiting to go on afterwards. And I remember thinking he doesn’t need me to tell him he did a good job, he knows he did a good job, he’s Chris Rock! And I was like, wait a second, at any point in my life, will I feel satisfied that I’m funny enough and stop questioning it? And I was like NO! And I bet he’s the same way, and guess what, I’m right. I said “Great set” and he earnestly said, “thank you!” So, that would be my message. Don’t ever walk past a comedian because you think that they know they’re the shit and kind of say something sarcastic. We sincerely love compliments, so keep them coming! (laughs).
Well, I’ll keep that in mind when I meet future comedians!
Yeah, I’ve always thought that famous people don’t need to hear it. But the reason they’re famous and they seek fame is because they need to be loved. So any love you give them is appreciated. And I don’t mean like “Can we take a selfie?!” or “Will you leave a message on my boyfriend’s answering machine?” Nothing like that, just a “Hey I appreciate what you do.” It always means SO much.
One last question, what is one question no one ever asks that you wish they would?
I’d like people to ask me what size bra I wear. (laughs). Because I have bigger boobs than people think and I really want the world to know. I’m saying this obviously sarcastically, but it just came to mind. And I know that my ass is disappointing.
“Not Safe with Nikki Glaser” airs on Tuesdays at 10:30 ET on Comedy Central.