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When Jon Glaser first told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show about his new project Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, he was joking; there was no TV show about a tattooed werewolf slayer. But when Adult Swim called his bluff, the series became a reality. Now the very funny New Yorker—recognizable as Girls’ Laird and Parks and Recreation’s Jeremy Jamm—is preparing for Neon Joe’s second-season premiere on May 22. Before hitting the Bell House on May 19 for a free screening party and comedy show, the goofy genius talks to us about being immortalized in comic books and playing a jerk.
You introduced Neon Joe on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and played a version of your Delocated character on Conan before making it a series. Will your next character also debut on a late-night talk show?
If I get to keep making TV shows based off arbitrary jokes, that’d be awesome. I should go on Fallon and just make another stupid joke and see if a TV show happens. I think if I came up with something like Deep Space Johnny and Baloney 6, we could figure out the rest.
With the second season of Neon Joe, it seems like you’re really adding to the show’s mythology.
One of the things that I really like about the season is that it’s very, very different from the last season. The look is different, the cast is different, the whole tone is different. But there’s the same stupidity.
DC Comics adapted Neon Joe into a comic book. What is it like seeing yourself in ink?
They make you look cool, they make you look tough. They gave me ripped muscles, and I look like a competent badass who can win in a fight, as opposed to a skinny weakling who would be destroyed. But seeing yourself as a superhero, aside from the narcissistic joy of “I look amazing,” is also just cool visually.
What interests you in playing these overconfident jerk characters like Delocated’s Jon and Neon Joe?
I love playing a high-status asshole, or somebody who views themselves as high status, when really they’re just incompetent and dumb. You get to write a lot of really good-slash-annoying lines to say. It’s fun playing the confident loser—the smug asshole. You get to say stupid shit, and there are no repercussions for it. It’s all fiction.
But what about when you appear as yourself on Jon Glaser Loves Gear?
Oh, yeah, playing an asshole version of myself is very strange. It’s already cutting way too close. Even when I was editing Delocated, one of the editors said to me, “It’s a good thing you’re married.” And I said, “Why? Because I play an asshole character and no one would want to date me because they think I’m an asshole?” And she was like, “Yeah. Kind of!”