Yes, Nikki Glaser really lives in St. Louis, Missouri, now. The comedian returned to her hometown at the start of the pandemic and captured the shenanigans of her new reality show “Welcome Home Nikki Glaser.”
She knows people might not believe her, but that’s because “everyone in show business thinks it’s all fake,” she told TheWrap.
That’s a fair assessment, given that much of the action in reality shows is actually created by the producers. And Glaser admits they’re creating more interesting storylines for the show than it likely would be otherwise (binging Netflix and scrolling through social media doesn’t make good TV), but she’s also committing to just as many stories. authenticity as possible. .
So much so that she almost recast her real mother, who was freaking out about having cameras in her potentially neglected house. It’s a joke. Kind of. “She’s still a bit obsessed with what people think. So I allowed it. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll get you a housekeeper,'” Glaser explains.
Below, the E! The star chatted with TheWrap about how filming a reality show is a lot like running a zoo, as well as her thoughts on the state of the comedy industry after Slapgate.
As an LA transplant myself, I don’t know if I could see myself returning to my hometown. What triggered this transition for you?
Well, the reason I left my hometown was to pursue a career. It wasn’t me who was really running from anything. You just can’t have a career in show business in St. Louis, or the kind that I want. When the pandemic hit, it seemed like my job was leaving. I was with my parents in Los Angeles when everything stopped. I was like, ‘I don’t want to leave them.’ I was just a little scared, like all of us. So I went to St. Louis to stay with my parents for a few weeks, as long as it lasted. So, long story short, I really had nowhere to go. I was sort of starting over with all my stuff. So I moved, and I moved into a place in St. Louis. Now that the world has opened up, I think I’ve realized that you can have a great career that doesn’t have to be in New York or Los Angeles. Everyone in LA thinks I’m in New York, and everyone in New York thinks I’m in LA. Even after watching the TV show, they still think I’m lying about it, because everyone in show business thinks it’s all fake.
Funny how you mention everyone in show business thinking it’s all fake. I think a lot of times with reality TV people wonder how real it is. What’s that real-to-script ratio for “Welcome Home”?
I always say reality TV is like the zoo. If you think the zoo is fake, then you’ll think reality shows are fake. Habitats are fake situations, they may be pre-conceived, but what happens in these producer-created settings – all of the emotions, all of the dialogue – these things are real. My parents and I and my friends aren’t good enough actors to rehearse lines and anyone who thinks reality TV acts, like you obviously haven’t tried acting before because it’s not easy. I think a lot of my self esteem issues throughout my life and just mental health issues are due to celebrities pretending to be real. So I purposely didn’t clean my room. I didn’t wear a pretty outfit unless it was necessary in my life. I did not buy new clothes. I haven’t tidied my house. I wanted to be real because there’s nothing wrong with being a messy girl. I mean, it’s the anti-Kardashians for sure. Perfection is not something I was trying to achieve at any time, and if anything I was trying not to because it’s just an illusion.
I read that you told your mom you were going to recast her because she wanted everything to be perfect, and you just wanted her to be herself. Obviously it worked?
Yes, but it’s my mother. Actually, I was okay with that because she’s my mother. She’s still a bit obsessed with what people think. So I allowed it. I was like ‘Okay, I’ll get you a housekeeper.’ I paid for some of the things she wanted to do before she agreed to run the cameras. And now she sees the show, and she’s like, “Next time, I won’t wear makeup. I never wear so much makeup. But she was like, ‘I’m on TV. I have to put on makeup. Next time, she will go a little less far. I love that she’s like, ‘I don’t like not looking like me even though it looks better.’
It’s true, I think all moms are like that. My mom has to make sure the house is clean even if it’s like the neighbors are coming.
She was so worried about how she would come off and I said, ‘Mom, you love The Housewives.’ There isn’t a single housewife who, if you saw them at the airport, wouldn’t say “Oh my god.” I love you.’ And they did despicable things. You didn’t. You’ve seen them in horrible states of drunkenness or anger, where they’ve been ugly versions of themselves. What are you going to do on a TV show that will make nobody like you? Being unkind on TV is actually, unfortunately, working for you more often than not.
It’s hilarious, and I think you’re right.
Not everyone on this show wants to be on the show. That’s the most interesting thing about it. Except me and Andrew, my roommate, who is also an actor. We are the only people who aim to be famous or want to be the center of attention. The rest of my family is like, ‘Do I have to be on TV?’ I thought it was a gift I was giving them and they all said, ‘No, we don’t want that. We will do it for you. And I’m like, ‘How do you not want to be on TV?’ Any reality show you see, people want to be famous — like they all just want Instagram followers. My parents don’t even know how to use Instagram. So it’s refreshing to see people who don’t know how to be fake or who are desperate to get strangers to like them so much. My mom is more worried about her family thinking they look good rather than strangers.
You make a comment in your introduction about being a woman in comedy. What’s your take on the state of the industry right now, especially given all the conversations about violence against comedians?
I’m not going to deny that being a woman in comedy isn’t the same as being a man, but I never considered that to be, ‘That’s not fair.’ I’m definitely mad at misogyny and the fact that we’re making less money and all the things that aren’t good, but I’m grateful to be a woman in comedy and I’ve always considered it a godsend rather than an obstacle. But I have a hard time categorizing myself as a comic woman rather than just a comic, because I never thought of myself as a comic woman until people started saying, ‘There’s a comic woman. who arrives on stage. Are you ready for a wife? Now, I’m proud to identify as an actress because actually, actresses are my favorite. We’re kind of the angrier, and we think more emotionally and it’s more interesting for me to listen to because I identify.
I will say that the state of comedy with all that is happening with the assaults that are happening on stage, I am horrified by it. I just don’t think violence is obviously the answer. But I’ve always been afraid of violence against me, not just from people who are angry with me, but from people who love me. I meet and greet every weekend and I have a guy who reaches into his pocket to pull out a Taylor Swift ring he bought me and I’m like, for a second, I think this could be something else. I’m constantly telling people where I’m going to be so they can meet me, what time I’m going to be on stage. And not all of these places have metal detectors. I put myself in danger.
So when it comes to jokes, though, and people get mad about it, I’ve always said that I’m not someone that I don’t think comedy is that important to me that I don’t can’t look at her and say, ‘Oh, I was wrong about that. I’m a stupid comedian. I don’t have a degree. This is not a TED talk. I’m just a girl with opinions that make it funny enough that people want to hear it. I was telling the audience before my show, don’t come up and hit me. If you have a problem with me, leave. You can DM me on Instagram, and I’ll refund you Venmo. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I try to get people to like me and listen to me. I’m not a comedian who feeds off people’s anger, upsets them or makes them feel bad. It may seem so because I roast jokes. And I do in quotes, offensive stuff like that. But I really want people to like me and listen to me. So I don’t want to alienate anyone.
What are some of your comedic inspirations?
Frankly, Eminem. I know that sounds crazy. It flared up when I was in high school and I couldn’t believe anyone would say such incredibly offensive things. He was just telling the truth and saying some really dark things. He didn’t really kill people. He really didn’t do these things, but he could joke about it. I do not know. It really intrigued me how brave he was to say some really crazy stuff.
New episodes of “Welcome Home Nikki Glaser” air Sundays on E! at 10 p.m. ET.