Nikki Glaser takes on St. Louis living in her new show on E! — and so do her parents
In early 2020, comedian Nikki Glaser was at the peak of her career. But then, the pandemic hit, prompting her to move back home to St. Louis. After living with her parents in Des Peres, she moved to an apartment in the Central West End with her best friend and podcast co-host. Now, her St. Louis move is showcased in a new show on E! called “Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?”
“My overall feeling once I watched it the other night was like, it's this weird feeling that I've never had before of watching myself,” Glaser said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I was seeing myself like I view reality stars when I watched them at home, like I was kind of rooting for her. I was like, ‘Oh, she's so sweet. Like, she's just doing her best.’”
But Glaser isn’t the only one who’s adjusting to the reality TV lifestyle — her parents are, too. Her dad, EJ Glaser, said it took some getting used to but started to feel more normal.
“It's very exciting. You know, you really kind of forget the cameras are on you after a while, so you really do act naturally,” EJ Glaser said.
The show follows Nikki Glaser as she readjusts to St. Louis living. She visits the Arch, rollerblades at Steinberg, eats dinner at local restaurants and even reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Chris — who’s also a St. Louis native. She says, though, that some of the daily activities the show recounts aren’t exactly routine in her normal life.
“I was doing things I wouldn't do if I hadn't been being followed around by cameras. Like, I wouldn't have used one of my days off to go canoeing with my dad at Forest Park,” she said. “That's a reality show trope where they go, ‘Oh, go to this workout class, go babysit your nephew.’ They want you to do more interesting things than take a nap. You can't watch TV or be on your phone really, on a reality show.”
Glaser had to spice up her daily life a little bit to make compelling TV. Her dad helped in some ways — like when he had to get four teeth pulled. Nikki Glaser said the producers were ecstatic.
“I'm not like, an alcoholic or a really angry person. They're not getting a lot of outbursts and table flipping and throwing wine,” she said. “So those moments where it's like, ‘Oh, you're having teeth removed,’ are like, ‘Thank God, we have an episode arc.’”
Though she’s very public about her life in St. Louis now, she says sometimes people don’t realize that, yes, she’s actually living here.
“I'll do an interview about the show of me living in St. Louis, and then off air they go, ‘So where are you now?’ And I go, ‘St. Louis,’ and they go ‘Oh, that's real?’” she said. “They all think I made this up. No one trusts that anything on TV is actually real, even reality.”
Living in St. Louis has allowed Glaser to spend more time with her parents, EJ and Julie Glaser. While living near them has its complications — like performing standup with them in the audience, saying things she’d rather not have them hear — she said they’re naturals on the show.
“I have to try to be funny. They don't. It’s actually annoying,” Nikki Glaser said. “So they're amazing. I love how much people have loved them on the show.”
The Glasers love seeing their daughter perform, but they have their limits, especially when her comedy takes raunchier turns.
“When Nikki did a Netflix special out in LA, we flew out for the show. She did two shows because they use two shows to get the special together,” EJ Glaser said. “And I sat there with a buddy of mine and watched the first show and I loved it, but I said, ‘You know, we're supposed to sit through the second show. I can't sit through this second show. I need a drink.’”
Nikki Glaser added: “Dad always says that people come up to them after my shows and go, ‘Are you all right, man?’ Like he's attending my funeral. Like, ‘Do you need support? I'll be back tomorrow with a casserole.’”
But Nikki’s performances going forward are likely to be the kind her dad can enjoy, as she follows in his footsteps as an aspiring singer-songwriter. (EJ Glaser performs regularly in town with the acoustic trio Glaze and The Moonkings.) She said the pivot from comedy to music is scary and vulnerable. She’s even gotten judgment from other comedians, but she doesn’t really care anymore.
“I put out a song dedicated to my friend, Bob Saget, who had died right when I was recording some songs just for fun,” she said. “And I got trashed by a comedian saying, ‘Who does she think she is? Oh, my God. She thinks she's so sweet’ and making fun because it was a serious song.” She added, “I got trashed, but I knew I was going to because comedians are so insecure, they cannot put themselves out there in any kind of way.”
She said she’s brushing off insecurity and focusing on vulnerability, and it seems to be serving her well. The city named April 28 “Nikki Glaser Day” in St. Louis. In celebration, she threw the first pitch at a Cardinals game that day and was given a key to Busch Stadium. Her plans to use the key are simple:
“I'm just gonna break into Harrison Bader's locker and steal his scrunchies.”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Emily Woodbury, Kayla Drake, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.