It's pretty cool to watch someone that you know grow into a well-deserved position in the comedy and entertainment worlds.
Kirkwood native, podcast superstar, MTV talk-show host and generally nice person Nikki Glaser's half-hour comedy special airs this Friday on Comedy Central.
We caught up with Nikki en route to Spain to chat about the renewal of her successful late-night MTV talk show, The Nikki & Sara Show (with podcast partner Sara Schaefer), the filming of a comedy special and hair extensions.
[Full disclosure: If some of these questions might seem petty and born of jealousy, it's because I'm petty and totally jealous.]
Kris Wernowsky: So, you're flying to Spain. What's that all about? I'm sure this is all fame-related in some way.
I'm visiting my sister and her husband in Madrid. They live here.
I actually stood in a room with the King of Spain once. His daughter's exceptionally attractive. Will you tell her I said hi" Don't be surprised if she pretends like she doesn't remember me.
I don't speak Spanish, so I can't.
I'm supposed to ask you about your upcoming Comedy Central special. Are people who have seen you perform over the past couple of years going to know some of these jokes, or did you set out to do a new half-hour of material?
I like how you preface this with "I'm supposed to ask you." I'm really sorry you have to do that. Yes, there will be material you recognize, but there's also some new stuff that got added in the months and days before the taping. It's a good mix.
You're in a pretty great class of comics who taped specials for Comedy Central this year. Ben Kronberg actually performed here a little more than a year ago. Did you work with anyone who surprised you or who you weren't familiar with already?
Look out for Gabe Liedman's special. He is a force. I had seem him before and always loved him, but this special of his is something to behold.
Explain what the process of filming a half-hour is like compared to performing in a traditional venue (rock, theater, club or otherwise).
It's was taped at a theater in Boston. And a taping is always going to be different than a club. It's extremely well-lit. Everyone is on their best behavior. On one hand, the audience is pumped and ready to laugh, but on the other, there's a weird tenseness in the room of like, WE'RE ON TV RIGHT NOW. It's definitely harder for everyone to relax, including me. I was also wearing a really short dress and very high heels, which is not my normal stage attire.
Do you think you had some advantage over a lot of people in this process with your Last Comic Standing and Nikki & Sara Live experience?
Not at all. The only thing that can prepare you for a special is doing sets every night, anywhere and everywhere. No amount of performing on television is going to make you funnier. I guess, from doing TV, I knew to tell the makeup ladies that I like eyeliner on the INSIDE of my eyelid. That's maybe an advantage I had. My eyes gonna be poppin'! Look out!
Speaking of Nikki & Sara, I'm sure you're pretty thrilled about the show getting picked up for a second season. What's been the most surprising thing about that show so far?
The most surprising thing is how much I love it. I didn't know there was something other than standup that was going to make me feel so fulfilled creatively, but I found it. I love the collaborative nature of doing a television show. Standup is so solitary. I have learned to relinquish creative control and it has taught me how to be that much funnier. Our show staff is incredible. I am very lucky.
I'm imagining that you and Sara only interact when the cameras are on or when you're recording your podcast. Outside of that, fame has made you mortal enemies. Do you and Sara hate each other now that you're both, like, uber famous?
Sara is one of my best friends. Our relationship is a lot like a marriage (because we're not having sex). I love her. I support her. We are a unit. She is one of the funniest people I've ever known. And I learn from her every single day. I hope everyone finds their own Sara Schaefer.
What have you learned from the beginning of the live show's filming until now that has surprised you? This can be anything from a guest whose likability surprised you to something about the television business that you didn't know about.
Hair extensions and fake eyelashes all day err day.
Now that you have a season in the bag, is there any major changes that you would like to see in your next season?
I would love to have more Taylor Swift on the show.
I feel like there are comedians everywhere that I turn now. So many people are getting talk shows, shows on Cartoon Network, podcasts, live shows, clubs, just everywhere. Do you think this current wave of comedy popularity has as saturation point where it will burn out, or do you think it's something sustainable?
I think it's sustainable. And sure, everyone can try standup, but only the funny will prevail.
Will I ever be famous/infamous?
Purely from a statistical standpoint, no. Sorry.
[Editor's note: After explaining that infamous can range from well-known serial killer to world's fattest man, I can sense that Nikki might eventually change her mind.]
Watch Nikki's special at 11 p.m. Friday on Comedy Central.
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