Not afraid to storm the barricades, whether the topic is sex, men, dating, pop culture, being a single woman or suffering from anxiety and depression, Nikki Glaser says she wants to speak truth from her own perspective.
“I don’t mind making people uncomfortable to talk about real issues,” she says.
Admitting “it’s hard to make me embarrassed,” Glaser also admits to being obsessed with sex from a young age. “We’re all having it, but we don’t talk about it. I find it (sex) funny and fascinating.”
The popular comedian brings her bad-girl persona to the Kravis Center on Saturday for a stop on her Good Girl Tour. She’s everywhere these days, starring in the reality show Welcome Home Nikki Glaser on the E! Channel, appearing in the HBO special Good Clean Filth, and as the host of The Nikki Glaser Podcast.
Raised in a “trickle-down” Catholic household in Cincinnati, Glaser, 39, says sex was infused with guilt and shame, and that’s all she wanted to talk about. When she finally got in front of a microphone in college, she went full throttle.
Although she says her family was funny and irreverent, on the spectrum of nature vs. nurture, the comedian believes her ability to be funny is more cultivated than not. She credits her desire to be a stand-up comedian to low self-esteem and a desire to be seen.
“Those are the two ingredients which make a good comedian,” she says.
Since the age of 6, Glaser dreamed of being Jennifer Aniston on Friends, and knew she wanted to be on TV but wasn’t sure how to get there. She took some acting classes, but says she wasn’t any good.
When she discovered comedy in college at the age of 18, she had an ah-ha moment, “I knew it was my thing.”
She never had a “Plan B.”
“I felt it right away,” she says. ”I was good at it and for the first time in my life I could be the best at something. I fell in love with the process of stand-up comedy and still love it.”
Glaser is often mistaken for being Jewish because of her name and sensibility. She’s flattered by the thought and says, “I’m dying to be Jewish. I want in.”
She admires Jewish comedians Sarah Silverman and Wendy Liebman as well as male comedians Kevin Nealon and David Spade for their “honesty and absurdity.” She credits George Carlin, Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr for being truth tellers who “don’t pull any punches” — something she admires.
Now that she’s conquered her first love, comedy, Glaser is setting her sights on her second love and is trying her hand at singing and songwriting.
Last year, she came in third on The Masked Singer, competing as Snowstorm and received good reviews for her voice, although as a child she was discouraged from singing by a vocal coach.
Even though Glaser has achieved much success as a professional comedian, she appears to take her achievements in stride and is happy to continue doing what she does and branching out in other directions.
“My comedy goals are ultimately having the respect of my peers while making things that bring me joy and bring joy to others,” she says. “In my comedy career, success means more of the same. But I want to have a career in music, so real success would mean making headway there.”
She’s not looking to compete with Taylor Swift or Billie Eilish anytime soon. “I want to be able to play guitar in a small bar or restaurant and not make people annoyed.”
If singing and comedy fall by the wayside, Glaser, a longtime vegan, says she would love to commit herself to animal advocacy.
After her show at the Kravis Center, Glaser heads to California and Las Vegas for a total of 30 tour stops, including two in Canada, and will end New Year’s Eve at the Paramount Theater in Denver.
For other up-and-coming comedians, Glaser says if the work doesn’t come easy or you aren’t someone who loves to work hard, “it’s not gonna be your thing.” Her advice is to keep at it as a hobby and stay with it as long as it’s fun.
Travel and career pressure can get her down, Glaser admits, but once she steps on stage, all is forgotten.
“There’s dread offstage, but the joy of doing it in the moment keeps me motivated,” she says. “Follow what feels authentic to you and have fun. If you’re having fun on stage, it’s contagious and it makes comedy so much easier to do.”
Nikki Glaser: The Good Girl Tour comes to the Kravis Center Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $29.75 and may be purchased online at the official Kravis Center website, www.kravis.org, by phone at 561.832.7469 or by visiting the Kravis Center Box Office at 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach during regular Box Office Hours 12 p.m.–5 p.m.