In an industry that practically requires risqué, boundary-pushing personalities, comedian Nikki Glaser somehow manages to stand out for her raunchy humor.
By masterfully pointing out the absurdities and foibles of our everyday lives, most notably as they relate to the debauched awkwardness of sex, Glaser specializes in material that is both thought-provoking and provocative.
Even when she’s doing something as simple as explaining her approach, Glaser can be hilariously and effortlessly shocking.
“It’s like when I talk to porn stars, and I ask them if they ever feel weird about everyone seeing their buttholes, and they respond that ‘They don’t care,’” says Glaser, who opens a five-show run at Cobb’s Comedy Club in The City on Thursday. “That’s the same way I feel about my comedy. Just like porn stars aren’t fazed by people seeing their butts, I’m not fazed by what people might think of my material.”
No venue is more perfect for Glaser’s laissez-faire, direct comedy style than the roast circuit, where the 35-year-old comic has made a name for herself thanks to her scorched-earth tactics.
During her most recent roast, at the expense of Alec Baldwin, Glaser came out the clear winner, delivering a bevy of blows that dutifully took down not just the veteran actor, but an ensemble group that included NBA player Blake Griffin, “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes and fellow roast-specialist Jeff Ross.
Glaser said she approaches roasts as if they were math problems, with each target representing an equation that can only be solved in the most vicious manner possible. That kind of attention to detail is obvious, from the subtle cadences of her delivery to the frightening amount of opposition research conducted on each individual.
“I truly don’t approach roasts from a place of hate,” said Glaser. “They’re like the comedy Olympics and I’m competing against the best. I want to prove that I belong.”
After nearly two decades in the business — she started her career as an teenager — Glaser is finally reaping the respect she has long deserved. In October, she starred in her first hour-long comedy special, “Bangin’,” which was released on Netflix to rave reviews. (It made New York magazines Vulture website’s list of 10 best standup shows in 2019.) Next year, she’ll go on an extensive theater tour to promote the TV show. She also appears on You Up with Nikki Glaser, a Comedy Central show on SiriusXM.
And just like when she’s describing the peculiarities of oral sex or the ridiculous nature of relationships, Glaser has a trademark blunt explanation of her hard-earned fame.
“I’m really good because I’m a workaholic, and I’ve been doing this consistently for 16 years,” she says.” “It just makes that it’s happening now because I know what I’m doing onstage and it was only going to be a matter of time before people started responding.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 12; 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Dec. 13–14
Tickets: $28 to $50