Nikki Glaser talks about sex and late-night-TV boys’ club

Comedy Central’s latest star in the making, Nikki Glaser, is heating up late-night TV—and a midtown stage near you

Photograph: Luke Fontana

Nikki Glaser goes there. During my chat with the 32-year-old stand-up turned late-night TV host, she’s game to touch on anything. Porn? Sure. Parents’ sexual proclivities? Absolutely. Bill Cosby? Why not? That’s not all that surprising: On her unpredictable sex-focused talk show on Comedy Central, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, the former New Yorker and current Angeleno talks dirty with comedy stalwarts like Jim Jefferies and Maria Bamford and revels in exploring our bedroom habits. (Just watch the segment on pegging during the episode titled “I Broke My Dick.”) Like she is as a host, Glaser’s rhythm onstage—she has a string of comedy shows in NYC this week—is blunt, a bit dangerous and, most importantly, really damn funny—a tone she honed for years on the road before earning spots on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Conan. It’s no wonder that, given her delivery and subject matter, people are comparing her to Amy Schumer. (The two, incidentally, are travel buddies, she tells me. And there’s proof—a photo of the two comedians killing it on a boat with Jennifer Lawrence. So not jealous at all…)

Who’s your dream guest for Not Safe?
Sarah Silverman. She’s the reason I do comedy. Her DNC speech was my favorite thing I ever heard. Sitting down with her and laughing would be incredible. But my dream guest who would never do the show is Jennifer Aniston. I would just love to know about her sex life. Can you imagine what her sex life is like?

Um, amazing? Is anything off-limits on the show?
I was going to go to a Gathering of the Juggalos but decided that wouldn’t work. They would know I was there to make fun of them. It would be like me going to a Trump rally. Also, I decided not to hook up my boyfriend’s parents to a lie-detector test to see what they think of me. I couldn’t deal with questions like, “When you first met Nikki, what did you think of her?” I also didn’t want to know [whether they think] I’m good enough for their son. Some things I just don’t want to know. I can handle my own parents but not his.

But it must be weird to grill your parents on TV. You asked your dad if he’s done anal!
Not as weird as you might think when the cameras are there. It was a fun atmosphere. But I did wonder what the hell I was thinking when I was fine with questions for my dad, like “Did [you] ever hear me having sex?”

Did your parents give you “the talk?”
[Laughs] We never had that conversation. My dad thought my mom handled it. And she did talk about sex, but it was always negative. My mom doesn’t seem to enjoy sex much. The lack of sexual information didn’t help me, but they did the right thing since I didn’t have sex until I was older. Things could have happened. My life could be very different now.

How old were you?
I was 21. I would have done it earlier if I wasn’t so afraid of sex. My mom made me think sex was awful. She made it sound like guys just wanted to rape women. My mom instilled a lot of fear in me, and it prevented me from having sex.

Who was the first time with?
Someone I met while doing comedy at the University of Kansas. He was older than me. He knew I was a virgin. I chugged vodka before it happened. I was drinking alone in my car before I did it.

Sounds romantic.
[Laughs] I thought that I needed to get fucked up before we did it. We also watched Boogie Nights beforehand.

Speaking of Boogie Nights, porn stars have been on your show. Have you or would you have sex with one?
No. I would feel pressure to be a certain way in bed, and I would disappoint them. They’re not my type. I like guys with a sense of humor who smile a lot and are kind. I don’t get that from most porn actors, although the ones I met on the show were nice. Really cool.

So who would you have sex with?
It’s a toss up between Ben Higgins from The Bachelor and Enrique Iglesias.

Nikki GlaserPhotograph: Luke Fontana

Studs. Your comic pal Jim Norton told me that he doesn’t believe attractive people are good comedians unless they have some deep, dark hidden problem. What’s yours?
I had an eating disorder when I was 18 until I was about 23. I wasn’t a good-looking child. I got screwed out of the genetic deal. My sister looks like a model. I think that’s why I’m a comic. I’m deeply insecure since I was always feeling ugly. I wasn’t a healthy child. I had poor self-esteem. That’s why I need people’s approval.

But you’re attractive! You host a TV show about sex! 
Well, I learned how to pluck my eyebrows and do my makeup. I also grew into myself once I gained weight.

But do you agree with Norton?
Yes. Beautiful people don’t have to be told that they’re great. They’re adored from an early age. They don’t have to try to be the center of attention. The rest of us have to do something.

You’re one of the few female late-night hosts. Do you think the big networks will ever take that plunge?
The networks are so scared to take a risk by putting a woman in that position. I understand why they believe it’s risky. It’s the “this has always worked, so let’s keep it this way” approach.

Would you like to break that glass ceiling?
That’s the goal, ultimately—to be a late-night talk-show host. If we’re ready for a female president, they should go hand in hand. When Hillary is elected, they’ll replace James Corden with a woman. Just kidding. He’s so much fun.

Nikki Glaser performs at Carolines on Broadway Thu 18–Sun 21. Not Safe with Nikki Glaser airs on Comedy Central Tuesdays at 10:30pm.

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