There is an art to the discrete subway photography on Nikki Glaser's Instagram. First the technique: Use headphones to snap a photo, pretend to take a selfie, and dim the screen. And then the subjects: men spreading their legs too wide, uncomfortable couples, people with obvious body language. Glaser stopped when she got caught. "It also just felt wrong after a while," she says.
"The one time I got caught someone told on me," she says. "I got yelled at. I was like, 'I erased it!' It was humiliating. That's why I stopped doing it. It seemed too risky. ... People on the subway can be violent and erratic — especially the people I'd photograph, who were always weirdos. ... Now I'm living in Los Angeles and there's nothing interesting here."
Glaser is in L.A. working on her 10-episode Comedy Central series Not Safe With Nikki Glaser, which she describes as "like The Daily Show but for sex," an upfront, late-night comedy update to HBO's Real Sex or MTV's late-'90s call-in series Loveline.
"I want my show to be that for kids who shouldn't be watching it," she says. "I used to watch Real Sex with my friends on HBO and just be horrified. ... When you're that age, you just want to absorb anything that has anything to do with sex, and it's so fascinating, and you're scared of it, and it's all so curious."
Glaser performs at the Freret Street Publiq House Oct. 5 as part of the 2015 Hell Yes Fest presented by The New Movement and featuring dozens of stand-up comics, sketch and improv groups and variety shows at venues across New Orleans. Glaser is among headliners including Tim Heidecker, Todd Barry and Neal Brennan. (Click here for a list of recommended shows.)
Not Safe debuts in February. It'll feature interviews with comics, in-the-field reports and "social experiments," she says. "I want to tackle talking about sex in a way that's not, 'Ooo, we're talking about sex, aren't we naughty?' Yeah, we're all having sex, can we just talk about it like we're human beings? ... Everyone is having sex all the time. We don't think about how disgusting we all look. If you think about it, it's almost too much, so you've got to compartmentalize it. I'm trying to blur those lines and peer in and see what people are into. It's my favorite thing to do and to talk about."
Glaser co-hosted the MTV series Nikki & Sara Live with fellow comic Sara Schaefer and is a frequent guest on Comedy Central's @midnight. She recently appeared with Amy Schumer in Trainwreck (and on her sketch series Inside Amy Schumer) and will film a one-hour special for Comedy Central this fall.
"I wish I had some cool comedian tell me like, 'Hey girl, it's going to suck for a while, and you don't have to do this, and there's no such thing as blue balls, that's just a myth to make you do more stuff than you're comfortable with,'" Glaser says. "I was a virgin until I was 21. I was very prudish until then, so I think I'm just making up for lost time now. It's all I want to talk about.
"And I have a knack for getting people to share with me things they wouldn't share. ... I want to capitalize on that."