If Nikki Glaser Gets Canceled Someday, ‘I’ll Be Able to Forgive Myself’

When should comedians censor themselves?
If Nikki Glaser Gets Canceled Someday, ‘I’ll Be Able to Forgive Myself’

Does Nikki Glaser censor herself on stage? Yes and no, she tells The Daily Beast. On the yes side, “I really don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. So if I said the ‘r-word’ and there was someone in the audience who had suffered because of that word, or felt called out or alienated by it, I really would feel horrible.” 

On the other hand, when tackling a sensitive subject, it can take Glaser (or any comic) some time on the road to find the exact right words to hit the proper tone. If Glaser offends on the way to finding those jokes, so be it. “If I do eventually get canceled, I think I’ll be able to forgive myself,” she explains.

What’s okay for a comic to say? Glaser addresses the subject of which comics get to say what in her new HBO special, Someday You’ll Die. “It’s probably going to look like I’m calling out comics and being like, come on, you’re just using your family member, like, ‘I can tell these jokes because I have someone who has special needs,’” she says. “And comedians do that.”

But why shouldn’t Glaser or any comic be able to tell similar jokes if they have something to say? “I don’t like when comedians are told you can’t have a take unless you have someone — that you’re not allowed to have rape jokes unless you’ve been raped somehow. Somehow that makes it okay,” she explains. “I could be raped. I have thoughts about rape, and I have thoughts about the ‘r-word.’ I’m terrified to ever say that word on stage, but I feel like I probably could say it if I had someone in my family. I just don’t think it's fair to say that some people can say it, and some people can’t. I have affection for people that have Down syndrome, but just because I don’t have a brother (with it), I can’t say it?”

Bottom line: Glaser believes comedians should be able to tackle any subject but still have a responsibility to hit the right target. That’s a line she had to walk during her killer set during the Tom Brady roast. As she discussed during her appearance on Howard Stern earlier this week, she wasn’t comfortable involving Brady’s kids in the punchlines. And if she did? The jokes would have to clearly be about Brady’s parenting, not the kids themselves. 

Glaser also recognizes that she hasn’t always come from that place of empathy. “I don’t ever watch any clips of mine, but the other day I saw one and I was like, what the fuck? Who are you? Why would you ever say this to someone? I couldn’t believe what I said to people,” she admits. “I really was shocked by it.” 

She’s still willing to “go there” but in a more thoughtful way. “I do watch what I say a lot,” she says. But “I’m getting ready to do something where I might have a joke with the ‘r-word’ in it, and I’m very, very scared.”


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