TV

What You Should Know About Nikki Glaser Before Watching ‘Not Safe’

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Getty/Uproxx

Most people will probably recognize Nikki Glaser from her frequent appearances on Comedy Central’s late night panel show@midnight. After all, the 31-year-old comedian has delivered some of the best responses. Now the former Last Comic Standing semi-finalist and MTV talk show host is getting her own series, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser.

The new sex-themed program “is a free-form venue” in which Glaser “investigates the issues the rest of us are too timid to ask about through a mix of panel discussions, field pieces, and social experiments.” This all sounds great, and considering what Glaser told Uproxx and everything the comic has accomplished in the past six years, Not Safe will be one to watch.

If you don’t recognize Glaser and all of that isn’t enough to spark your interest in her new show, though, here are a few tidbits about her career and life to this point.

Glaser Has Been Performing Stand-Up Since Age 18

Despite being incredibly “shy and insecure” in college, the Ohio native, who was raised in Missouri, took to the stage as soon as she left home for the University of Kansas. Like most comics starting out that young, Glaser did a lot of open mic nights at bars, clubs and other establishments. These were the places where she honed her raw, personal style of comedy, which later developed into the material Glaser has routinely delivered at shows all over the country. “I like to talk about sex, my romantic life and being a woman,” she told Variety in 2015. “I’m not trying to shock. I’m just being honest.”

She Got Her Start On Last Comic Standing…

Glaser participated in the reality show’s seventh season in 2010, which was hosted by Craig Robinson. She didn’t win, but she advanced into the semifinal round before she was knocked out of the competition. Not that any of that mattered, however, as Glaser’s experience on the show had one of the most positive impacts on her current and future career. In a 2013 article arguing Last Comic Standing‘s merits (or lack thereof), Glaser defended the program, saying “primetime exposure for comics is a good thing.”

I remember being starstruck in the lobby of the hotel when I met Tig [Notaro] and Doug Benson, comics I already admired, who I would be competing against. I knew I didn’t stand a chance, but I was excited just to be there and make new friends… Last Comic Standing was the perfect introduction to working in television. I learned how to do an interview, get mic’d, what to wear on camera… little stuff I wouldn’t have learned in the clubs.

She quickly adapted what the show had taught her and found herself performing in places she’d never gigged at before.

…And Quickly Mined The Exposure For TV Gold

Places like The Tonight Show with Jay LenoConan and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Late night wars notwithstanding, talk show programs are great places for up-and-coming comedians to work their material out before a live studio audience and a much larger audience watching at home. Many late night hosts who gave Glaser some of her first broadcast exposure after Last Comic Standing (like Leno) were themselves former comics, so it made complete sense. These appearances also provided her with some of her biggest tests as a comic-turned-television star, because some of her more raunchy, personal material wouldn’t always go as well for bigger audiences.

She Podcasts Like A Bad Motherf*cker

Along the way, Glaser buoyed her stand-up and television careers with a popular podcast with fellow comedian Sara Schaefer called You Had To Be There. The two hosted the podcast from 2011 to 2014, and focused mostly on discussing matters pertaining to their chosen lot in life — making people laugh on stage. They interviewed hundreds of comedians and comic actors throughout the show’s run, including Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, and Sue Costello. Glaser was also featured on the We Know Nothing podcast for a time. Being that everything revolves around Not Safe at the moment, she is currently co-hosting the new show’s own podcast with writer and fellow comic Dan St. Germain.

Glaser Frequently Collaborates With Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is one of the biggest names in American comedy right now. So, good for Glaser for earning her ticket for the Schumer bandwagon several years ago. Months before Nikki & Sara Live interviewed Schumer during its second season, Glaser appeared in an episode of Inside Amy Schumer titled “A Porn Star Is Born.” The two quickly became friends and Glaser was hired for four more episodes of the Comedy Central show in 2014 and 2015. This led to Glaser’s casting in the 2015 film Trainwreck, in which she played Schumer’s character’s best friend Lisa — a “Stepford Wife type, who’s disgusted by Amy.”

She Co-Created Her Own Show For MTV

Three years after Last Comic Standing, Glaser already had her own series on MTV. Titled Nikki & Sara Live, she co-created, executive produced and co-hosted the weekly late night talk show with Schaefer for two short seasons in 2013. From its premiere on Jan. 29, to its series finale on Oct. 29, the program’s 24 episodes only stretched across nine months. Compared to other MTV programs, Nikki & Sara Live didn’t last that long. Of course, MTV isn’t known for its late night variety and talk show programming, so the fact that Glaser and Schaefer kept it going that long is a feat unto itself. (Not to mention their reaction to meeting Justin Timberlake during a surprise interview. Priceless.)

Here’s a clip from an upcoming episode of Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, which airs Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Comedy Central…

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