The pandemic saw comedian/podcast host Nikki Glaser leave the hustle and bustle of Hollywood for her beloved hometown of St. Louis. Her experience reacclimating to life in the “Gateway to the West” while maintaining a career in entertainment became the subject for her new docuseries, Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?
Rounding out the show’s cast is the her parents Julie and EJ, bestie Kerstin Robertson, dog walker turned roommate/podcast co-host Andrew Collin, and ex-boyfriend (or, perhaps, almost boyfriend) Chris Convy. Here, Glaser opens up about how she keeps it real on reality TV.
Did you have any trepidation about jumping into a reality show of your own?
Nikki Glaser: I was so ready. I’ve always wanted to be on reality shows but I just never felt like I could let someone in my life that much. I thought I would embarrass myself. I think that I finally reached a point where no matter what I see on the show, I’m going to be okay because I like myself. I’m in a place where anything can happen, and I’m going to be okay with it.
So, was there any part of yourself you were particularly worried about showing?
There are still things about myself that I think are pretty embarrassing that you’ll see on the show that I’m okay with. I purposely did not buy new clothes. I purposely did not wear makeup unless I was going to be wearing it anyway. I purposely did not clean my room or tidy my bathroom. I just wanted it to be a real representative of who I was. Not just for myself but for young women who always compare themselves to who they see on TV. This is me included. I wanted to start trying to represent a real girl on TV who isn’t perfect at all.
Was it hard getting your parents on board?
They were terrified. I just assumed everyone wants to be on TV because it’s my dream. It’s not my parents’ dream or my ex-boyfriend’s or my sister’s. It took me convincing them. The thing I told my mom to make her feel better was, “You watch The Real Housewives. You love all of these women, and they are disasters. Most of them are, yet you still love them. The things you see on TV don’t stay with you forever. You’re more than a messy room or drunken tirade. Audiences will love you because you’re lovable.” That was my spiel.
Mary Ellen Matthews/E! Entertainment
You mentioned your ex, Chris. How was it having cameras on you both, especially as your relationship was just starting out again?
That was difficult. We dated off-and-on for three years and then we took a five-year break. We were starting things up again while we were still in this fragile stage of wanting to make sure this was the smart thing to do. All of a sudden I tell him I have to film this reality show. I asked if we would need to put this relationship on pause. I told him that I was going to date other people and not just do that for cameras. I think it motivated him to think about where we stood and the importance of our relationship and if he wanted to possibly risk losing it to let me do this show. He is on the radio but isn’t someone who gives a lot away about his personal life. It was very vulnerable and extremely sexy for him to put himself out there by doing the show.
What was the window of time you shot?
This was about eight weeks. It was wild because this was actually the eight weeks prior to me filming my HBO special that is coming out this summer. I was filming myself on the road, off the road. I did 25 tour dates over the course of that period. Every day I wasn’t on the road I was filming in St. Louis. It was nonstop.
One thing the show delves into is the realization people know your mom and dad’s address. When you see things like what happened with Will Smith slapping Chris Rock after a joke he made. You’re always offending someone as a comic. How do you weather when that happens these days?
Sometimes you offend people because you tackle subjects that people aren’t normally talking about. I’m not someone who doesn’t apologize when I offend someone. I definitely get things wrong. When it comes to the slapping incident, it did make me scared at first to think of how I might be assaulted onstage for something I say. I definitely have upped my security a little bit more just in case something happened. I’ve always been scared onstage.
People get triggered and may have had a bad day. I don’t think Will Smith wanted to do that. It was a moment of anger that got out of control. Something we’ve all felt at times when we slam a cabinet or scream at someone too loud. I have a lot of empathy for my audience. I think if I lead with that and tell them, “I might offend you. And if you want to leave, I will not be hurt. Please don’t shout out. Maybe just DM me after the show and explain why my joke was maybe not the best take.” If it’s not a good take, I will take it out. Violence and heckling is not the best approach when you are offended. I don’t tread carefully though. I’m not worried about being canceled. I lived with my parents for 10 months when I was 35.
Do you feel like you and Taylor Swift will become friends now that you are a reality star?
No. That ship has sailed. I probably burned that bridge, just because you don’t want to be best friends with someone who is that obsessed with you on a celeb level. I’ve met my heroes before. I really scared Dave Matthews. Sarah Silverman is nice to me, but she is probably a little terrified of me as well. Every time I meet someone I love too much it never goes well. I just want to protect Taylor Swift. So if she reads this, please Taylor know you never have to be friends with me. Even though my number is [redacted] if you want to call or text me any time.
Is that number for everyone?
Just her. So if she reaches out, you can give her the unedited version of this.
What are you most excited for viewers to see this season?
Me going to couples therapy with a guy I’m not even in a couple with. I convinced him to go; getting a man to go to therapy, and talk about his feelings on camera. Also, I went on the road, to LA, and visited my famous friends there, considering if I should move back there. Me on the road going back to my old college town and visiting where I used to work. It’s a lot of nostalgia, feelings, and big decisions.
Welcome Home Nikki Glaser premieres May 1, 10/9c, E!