Nikki Glaser has wrapped her comedy shows around sexual innuendos for 20 years.
She’s continuing that with her summer tour, “One Night with Nikki Glaser,” which comes to the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, June 11.
“I wanted to really get away from all the sexual connotations and double entendres, because that’s what people expect of me,” Glaser says.
“So many people, especially men, roll their eyes at female comics because all they talk about is sex. There is a part of me that wants to not do that as much, but I also can’t help what I like to talk about.”
Glaser says her tour reflects a maturation of her subject matter while providing a more “technically proficient version” of her show.
“I’ve been doing comedy for 20 years now, and so you’re seeing me as someone who is at the top of my game just because I’ve been doing it so long,” she says. “It’s better jokes, more storytelling-based comedy, just more truth.
“I think that the more comedy I do, the more I’m not embellishing things just for the sake of the joke. I’m playing more with honesty that sometimes is much more shocking or funny than anything I could come up with or fictionalize.”
Inspiration behind a joke
Glaser contends her comedy focuses on topics that other comedians have yet to tackle. Comedians should ask why things are the way they are.
Experiences inspire Glaser’s jokes — within textbooks on social psychology, psychology, anthropology and “a lot of things I’ve learned about human behavior through trying to figure out my own.”
“(I’m) taking that information that I got from some kind of dry actual text and synthesizing it into something that you can make fart jokes around and spice it up and make it a little bit more palatable for people,” Glaser says. “There’s something for everyone, but it’s not an angry set.
“I’m not out there screaming about things. I’m trying to have a good time and just get people thinking about things in a different way. But always, the priority is having an escape from your daily life and just being able to have a good night out.”
Glaser says she doesn’t mean to offend anyone, and she’s definitely “open to being wrong about things.”
“I’m known for being a roast comedian and saying things that other people would never say in a million years,” says Glaser, who has burned Rob Lowe, Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin on Comedy Central roasts.
“There is some kind of aggregation on me to say things that other people aren’t going to say, to push the envelope. But really, I just talk about what I want to talk about. There’s never, ever a goal to offend, and I think that when that is your goal, it’s really lame.”
Glaser does not think that ticket holders should “take anything I say as final word, and I should not be impacting policy or social change.”
“I have a bachelor’s degree in English, and I never read a book my entire four years of college. I just bullshitted my way. I’m still bullshitting my way, but it’s entertaining at this point — that’s my job.”
Grateful for her fans
Glaser is passionate about her fans, especially those who flock to larger venues.
“In the past, it’s been clubs and it’s not as much of an expensive night out,” Glaser says. “It’s not as much of a sacrifice for people to go to comedy clubs as it is to buy a theater ticket, to get dressed up, to get a babysitter. I just have a lot of respect for my audience, and I want to give them the best show possible.”
She does not miss the days of performing in front of drunken audiences who were unfamiliar with her work.
“Now I have the privilege of having people pay to see me because they like me,” Glaser says. “It’s not lost on me that that’s a huge privilege and it’s such a dream, because it’s so different.
“Most comedians do not get into this even thinking that is ever going to be a possibility. When you start out, no one comes to see you for you — maybe your parents. They get tired really quick, though.”
Glaser will soon release a new HBO special, which is yet to be named. It joins 2016’s “Perfect” on Comedy Central and 2019’s “Bangin’” on Netflix.
“I went with HBO because I’ve done the Netflix thing before and, honestly, (HBO) valued what I had to offer more than other places,” Glaser says.
“Also, there’s something really prestigious to me about having an HBO special, which was the first comedy special that was offered to the general public.
“There’s a point of pride and accomplishment, a little feather in my cap of, like, ‘I have an HBO special’ — and HBO just has good taste.”
While on tour, Glaser continues to co-host “The Nikki Glaser Podcast” with longtime friend and fellow comedian Andrew Collin. She also leads the HBO Max dating reality show “FBOY Island” and the E! reality show “Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?” that follows her daily life.
“Everything I do now is really easy, because I don’t take jobs that are hard,” Glaser admits. “I don’t like dreading my work.
“I like working hard when it’s something fun. But if something feels like I’m second guessing everything and I’m worried about how it’s going to look, I just don’t do it anymore.”
Coming to Arizona
Glaser has not been to Arizona in years and is eagerly awaiting the chance to showcase her new comedy.
“Coming back to Arizona, it’s my first time in so long that I’m a totally different person now,” Glaser admits. “My act is completely different, my delivery is different, the way I write is different, and so it feels like I get to come back and perform for crowds that I know based on working so many years.”
She has a special offer for those who are going alone to her show: DM her on Instagram in all caps saying “going alone,” along with first and last name and the show that they are attending, and she will provide a free meet and greet so “you can meet me and then I’ll be your friend.”
“I can confidently say for the first time in my career across the board, everything I do, I really enjoy,” Glaser says. “You’ll be watching someone having fun as opposed to just fulfilling a contractual obligation.”
“One Night with Nikki Glaser”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 11
WHERE: Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $36.75