Loving Gear: The Jon Glaser Interview

We talk to Jon Glaser about his new TV show while getting to the bottom of just how deep his passion for gear runs.

Jon Glaser has slowly begun his plans of domination to use his absurd characters and premises to invade the mainstream. Glaser has made a reputation for himself off of radical fringe series like Delocated and Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, but with Jon Glaser Loves Gear, the genius might have found his best project yet. Surprisingly, fantastical monsters or hackneyed premises take a backseat this time in favor of reality, and surprisingly, it’s the biggest shift for Jon yet.

In celebration of Glaser’s radical new reality series/genius experiment, we got the opportunity to talk to Jon Glaser himself about the glory of gear, the slow dissolution of his fake family, and where this unique passion project heads through its inaugural season.

DEN OF GEEK: In spite of how different a show Jon Glaser Loves Gear is, everyone has their specific gear niche in life and a show like this ends up becoming surprisingly relatable. Talk a little about tapping into that area and why a show like this works.

JON GLASER: Well I guess you sort of just summed it up: Everyone has their thing–whatever activity that is—it can be athletic, it can be outdoorsy, or it can be something else where there’s “gear” involved. I think people can relate to the sense of obsessing over the details of something. For example, I told a friend of mine about this show a while back and her immediate response was, “Oh my God! I’m so into these Japanese pens right now. It’s really cool to see all the different shapes that they come in. And just the way that the cartridge goes into the pen. And I’ve got this case that organizes them all perfectly and accommodates the cartridges…”

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I think that sort of sums up what the show at its core is really all about. It’s rooted in this truthful place of a person who genuinely loves gear, and then obviously goes off on these personal storyline tangents. That’s really the spirit of the show and where the idea came from. But listen, I hope a lot of people like it, can relate to it on some level, and if not can just enjoy the stupidity and the humor.

A show like this kind of makes its own rules and there’s not really a set standard for something like this. Was it a little difficult breaking the course of the season?

Do you know mean in terms of figuring out what the stories would be?

I guess just in terms of the scope of the season. Like there’s a surprising amount of serialization going on. Obviously each episode has its own self-contained story, but there’s still a larger arc coursing through the season.

I think really we started from the place of just coming up with a bunch of topics that would seem fun to do. Then turning those into stories. And then, just as the writing evolved, weaving in whatever narrative is necessary regarding recurring characters, past story lines, or whatever. It’s just part of the writing process. The further you get along, you start to go from just coming up with random jokes to creating cohesive stories that make the scripts connect.

Did you imagine that this show would be getting so large in scope and continuity heavy though?

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I would say that it evolved from where it started to where it is now. Even before the pilot, the idea was very loose and a little bit different. It was a little more gear-centric and reality show-ish. Things later became much more scripted and story-driven as things evolved. Even from the pilot to the series, we noticed that the scripts were becoming more ambitious. That’s of course a good thing and thankfully the network was really supportive and very, very excited about that aspect of things. I love where the show ended up. I think it’s much more dynamic and interesting.

It’s great. I mean, you have gags like Steve Cirbus being blurred out in the opening credits, which is a crazy joke and makes no sense if you didn’t see the first episode.

Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things. I was really happy that the network was into it because it’s a big thing to commit to. It’s something that I really love and think it’s just a funny, dumb, weird choice. I’m just so happy that we get to do that and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that done before. Even if things are confusing in a show—for me personally, I kind of like that, I don’t mind it. If an audience is watching a show and they need to do a little research, I think that’s good. You want them going, “Wait, what’s this?” and looking into it.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is just watching how the series puts such a strain on Jon’s family life. Do you explore this divide more as the season progresses?

You know, all I can say without giving too much away is that it’s a constant thing that we see throughout the season. Whether it’s in every episode or not, it’s certainly a through line for sure.

We see a few glimpses of Jon’s children in the first two episodes. Do they get featured any more as things go on, or are there any gear topics that involve them? There’s a lot of kid gear!

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There is kid-centric gear stuff. There are episodes where the kids are more heavily involved. It actually happens early! Episode three is one of them. For sure tune in for that.

Were there any gear topics where you did some research and then were like, “Jesus Christ, there’s so much gear for this thing…”

I don’t know if there was anything where I was really surprised at how much I was finding because I’m never not amazed by how much stuff is out there. Just in general! It’s always astounding to me where it’s just, “Let’s look up rain hats!” And then it’s like, holy shit, look at how many different rain hats there are from so many different companies. Different styles, for different activities…But that’s of course a subset of what the show is getting into—“Oh my God, I love this hat, but look at this visor and what it does! It’s a little shorter and does this differently…”

So nothing amazed me as far as the quantity, but it was more just about the specific items when I’d be doing research for an episode and all of a sudden it would be, “Look at this.” Some of those things thankfully got incorporated into the show here and there, but it was more just a generic joy of seeing cool stuff.

Off that point, what’s your favorite piece of gear that you learned about from the show?

There is a thing—it’s tough because I don’t necessarily want to give it away because it’s so weird and different looking and it’s better if you just discover it in the episode—but there is something in the season finale that was for sure one of those pieces of gear where you find it, it’s really cool and crazy, and you’ve just never seen something like it before.

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That whole “Quick Rush” plot line is so, so wonderful. Would you actually make this movie if you had the opportunity? You have that great Kickstarter tag at the end of the episode, but would this be a passion project of yours?

If some weird billionaire out in the world sees that and says, “I’ll pay for that,” then we’ll be happy to make it. That would truly be amazing to get to make that stupid, stupid movie.

Weirder things have happened. That film could even be considered gear of sorts in that billionaire’s weird collection of artifacts.

Interesting take, sure.

Holiday specials are becoming an increasing trend with television shows. What do you think is the most gear-heavy holiday, and which would be the best holiday to devote a themed episode to?

Interesting…I mean certainly Christmas and Hanukkah. A lot of presents there. Probably where a lot of gear is being exchanged. A lot of gear giving and gear getting…I would love to see a Jon Glaser Loves Gear Hanukkah Special. Maybe I should pitch that to truTV. Honestly, right now, I’m going to e-mail that idea to myself.

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Eight days of gear giving! It’d be really great. I mean, there’s a whole hierarchy of the quality of the gear that you’re giving that you can explore with the different days of the holiday, too.

Then you can even start culling through the Bible and the Torah to look at gear….

I like it! What would you like to say in a second season of the show? Do you think that you’d continue down the same path or try to do something a little different?

The second season will be all spiritual. Different Gods, Bible stuff, “What was the first gear?” The whole season is going to be devoted to that. And then one episode about snowboarding.

You’ve gotta appeal to those snowboarding fans! Do you have a favorite gag or episode of the season that you’re particularly excited for people to see?

That’s a tough question, like choosing your favorite child. You don’t want to insult your other children. We’re all in the middle of the editing for the season, so several episodes aren’t even close to being worked on so it’s hard to say without having seen them all. I really am truly excited for all of them. They’re all different.

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One nice thing though is that there’s an episode on fishing about half way through the season, and that’s always kind of a tricky spot in things. You’re half way done and you’re wondering if people are still with you or losing interest. Thankfully, I think it’s a really good one. It’s super weird, really different, and visually it looks great, but you know what, they’re all great!

Maybe my favorite gag that you do is just that running joke of continually offing Paul Rudd. It’s so good!

I mean, it basically has to happen. We have a handshake agreement that he’s going to die whenever I have a show.

Lastly Jon, have you begun any Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter season 2 work at all? We need to know what those crazy cy-bots are up to!

We will see! The cy-bots may be done. They might be coming back. We’re in the middle of figuring out the scripts right now. We’re still in the writing process. We actually started the writing process early this year but then had to switch over to Gear, but we’re still in the writing phase. I’m just so excited to be able to make more of that show though!

Jon Glaser Loves Gear premieres on truTV on Wednesday, October 26th at 10pm with back-to-back episodes

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