Nikki Glaser Talks Not Safe, Tinder, and Women in Comedy

Things get hot and steamy in our Q&A with Comedian Nikki Glaser...

Speaking with Nikki Glaser is like talking to your gal pal at the bar. You know, the one who can recommend the best vibrator.

Women are kicking ass in comedy these days and few are doing it better than Glaser. Her Comedy Central show Not Safe with Nikki Glaser is probably the best education you are ever going to get when it comes to everything from dick-pics and talking dirty to feminism and absurdity.

We called up the comedian to chat about the inspiration for Not Safe, her firm belief that folks should not shy away from things that make them uncomfortable, and some insight into season two’s raunchiest scenes.

DEN OF GEEK: The most intriguing thing about Not Safe is that you make those closest to you do really uncomfortable things, like hook your friends up to polygraphs and ask if they want to have sex with you. How did you decide that was going to be part of the show?

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NIKKI GLASER: Well, I was having a talk with my boyfriend about some of my male friends and he was like, “You can deny it all you want, but they want to have sex with you.” And I was like, “ I don’t think so. Some of them are really just my friends.”

So I thought that was an interesting topic, and we were talking about that and I thought what if I put on a lie detector and found out if it was true or not. So that was the first thing we did. That was so successful and we were thinking about what we could do next that would raise the stakes and my parents were the likely next step. Obvious choice.

Do you wake up in middle of the night and think: “Hey! I’d like to sit on a vibrator in middle of a coffee shop! That sounds like something I’d do!”

I mean we have writers on the show, and we just sit around and brainstorm and they’re my closest friends. So, it is a lot of that. With the vibrator thing: that is my favorite vibrator and I want everyone to know about it. So, I was just like, “What can we do with it that would be interesting.”  Then there’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and we thought we should spoof that and we will just sit on these things because that will be funny.

There are a lot of videos online of girls sitting on the Sybian and singing a song or whatever. It’s always funny, and I thought, “How can we do that in a way that hasn’t already been done?” That is hard because a lot of stuff has been done regarding sex.

Throughout the season you have done so many of those uncomfortable things, is there anything that was the worst or that someone suggested and you were just like “nah, no thanks?”

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There have been a lot of things where I just say, “No, I don’t think so.” Like for the lie detector they said “Oh let’s bring in your boyfriend’s parents.” And I was just like I don’t want to know the truth about what they think about me. I’m sure it would be nice, but it would just ruin everything. It would be too weird. 

My family, I know what the fallout will be with that kind of thing. But I can’t predict what it would be like [with his family]. It would just suss out too many things.

One thing that I did that was really difficult was I spent 24 hours at a strip club. I spent the night there and that was very difficult because it is just very dark and smoky and just depressing. So that was a difficult thing to do. I asked why couldn’t we just do “Nikki visits a strip club?” They are like,“No, We have to do 24 hours.”

I thought, well, this is unnecessary, but I did it. 

So what do you do there? You started in the morning? Or night to night? Or what happened? 

Well, it is a strip club that is open 24 hours. The Sapphire in Vegas. So I slept in one of the rooms. We had a private box at first and then they had a busy night so they said, “You have to leave the box, we just sold this.”

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So then I had to sleep in the karaoke room which we had been using for our whole crew to put their stuff in. I slept in these chairs all lined up together. I had a little strip club bed that I made and I just slept through the night and ran around the club during the day and just talked to different people. Just really had quite the experience. I never have to go back to a strip club ever again. 

I think after MacGyvering a strip club bed you are pretty much done with the whole strip club thing.

[Laughs] Yeah. I just realized I have probably spent more time in a strip club than Rihanna has, and that is saying a lot because she goes A LOT! 

Is there an untapped aspect of the sex/dating/fetish world that you would like to explore? For instance, we are a geek-oriented publication, so any interest in Hentai or cosplay, or porn parody?

We were thinking of doing a Hentai, like having someone draw me in a Hentai porn. But I didn’t want to see that. It would just be me getting shoved with huge dicks. Like being split open by dicks. I don’t need to see that. We were really obsessed with [Virtual Reality] Porn and so we are doing something with that this season. We are going to make our own, and I’m hopefully going to have my first lesbian experience in the VR.

Oh. Very interesting. 

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Yeah. Never had [a lesbian experience] before so going to get that out of the way. 

Check that one off.

[Laughs] There are other things too. We just learned about this fetish where guys just give women money and know that they are spending their money. It’s not like a sugar daddy thing. It’s like financial domination, or something like that. These guys just want to give you money. 

I had a guy on Facebook for like years just asking if he could PayPal me money and of course I have to say no when really I’m just like, “Why wouldn’t I? He doesn’t want anything for it.” 

They really want to give women money and I think it is just a really interesting fetish to have, to like jerk off to the fact that she’s wearing a necklace you bought her or whatever. 

Where do I find these guys?

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I know! [Laughs] It is funny because I told my boyfriend this guy wants to give me a thousand bucks a month and he said, “Do not do that. He will expect something some day.” I was just like, “It doesn’t mean I will give it to him. Why wouldn’t I accept free money?” 

Of course I asked the guy if I could donate the money he wanted to give me, and he never responded to that. So I guess he wouldn’t be able to get off to that.  

So I just mentioned the whole geek-oriented thing and this interview will drop during San Diego Comic-Con. On your show you do the Tinder Tap Out. So let’s say one of these guys is trying to find their Comic-Con Tinder Bae, what should he have in his bio or profile? If you were Tindering your way through Comic-Con, what would make you stop on a profile? 

I’m in a relationship and have never been on Tinder as a single woman, but from what  I have seen I think it is always good to have a picture with an animal to show that you are kind.

I think pictures of you smiling as much as possible, laughing, having a good time because that’s what women are attracted to across the bar. A guy that is just the center of attention, holding court. I think that often guys can come off looking really scary when they just look serious in a picture or handsome. But I think a smile goes a long way. 

You have spoken before about people labeling a female comic who talks about sex as a  “sex-comic.” Did you decide that you wanted to do Not Safe because women talking frankly about sex was missing from the market, or is it just something that pulled you?

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I don’t have much censorship when it comes to talking about sex. I am interested in it. There wasn’t a sex show like the one that I would want to do. There wasn’t a comedy sex show. It’s just like women sipping wine being like, “Oh can you believe that dental dams…” or something like that. It’s always women around tables on comfy couches. Love Line was a big inspiration, so that is kind of what inspired it. My boyfriend just saying, “You are good at talking about sex, and you are interested in it, so what about that?” And I was like, “You are right. Thank you for pointing that out!” [Laughs]

So on the show you are the “sexpert” of awkward sexual encounters and you stand tall about all of them and are very “this is me, hear me roar!” Do you have any tips for people stumbling their way through tinder hookups or dating or people who just feel awkward and want to stop?

It is kind of like an ‘it gets better’ thing. It is just hard when you are young and nervous about everything and everything means so much. That’s the best thing about aging, you just stop caring what people think and you become more yourself and you attract the right kind of people.

I encourage people to just do things that are outside their comfort zone, in terms of sex. Not anything that would put you in harm’s way, but to do things you think, “Will I regret this?” But if it is not going to hurt you or hurt anyone else, do it because it is a good story and makes you a more interesting person. 

People with sex stories and who have active sex lives and seek enjoyment from that, not in an addictive way, but people who have good sex stories are always more interesting.  I have just found that to be true. I honestly wish I had more myself. 

The show is not just about sex. It talks about women’s issues and things like men not being able to name a woman over 40 who isn’t Hillary Clinton. Other than laughs, is that something you want people to get out of Not Safe?

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Yes. It is a goal of mine to have less Brock [Turners] in the world. Less of those douches, and educate men about women and about consent. I think if we talk about these things and laugh about them, there is a way to learn through laughter. I have seen Amy Schumer do it. I have seen [Abbi Jacobson and

Ilana Glazer of] Broad City do it. Where you just see women being themselves, it’s feminism at it’s best for me as a viewer.

It is not a goal of mine to really shove this stuff in people’s faces, but it just is what I care about, and I get to do whatever I want on my show, because it is my show. Stuff that I would be interested in seeing if I were a teenage girl.

We try to cater it to men as well. We have to take a couple of steps back sometimes and say, “don’t have too much period talk in this one.” Guys aren’t that dumb that they see a woman talking and think, “This can’t be funny.” Most guys nowadays can make the link and they love it.

You always have a female and a male comic on your couch, just hanging out, talking, and it’s just one conversation. You’re not emphasizing one as the female perspective and one as the male perspective. It’s just people talking like human beings.

We definitely try to have one female and one male because it is just more interesting that way. You get both sides of it, and I pretty much play the neutral—no, actually, I’ m very opinionated.

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Female comics are my favorite comics, so it’s not a thing where we are like, “Oh we’ve gotta have a female!” It’s more like, “These chicks are funny and I need to have them on!” 

It is also, you know, we gotta represent. And people want to hear what women have to say. It’s not even like we have to shove it down in their faces. People want this.

Especially in a forum like this when it’s carte blanche for people to come on the show and say what they want and people are listening because it’s just really funny,  and you’re smart and saying cool things. 

The fact that women are really succeeding in comedy right now is not [reflective] of times changing and people letting women do this. No. Hollywood is all about making money and the fact is people just really like women in comedy now. It is making people money, so that’s why they’re doing it. It is not like they are doing it to be kind to women or thinking, “hey let’s give you this platform!” It is all about making money and we just happen to be making money. 

It’s nice. The shift has already happened. 

A version of this story appeared in Den of Geek’s San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition magazine. To read the full digital edition, click below.

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