Well respected in the stand-up community, Todd Glass has been supplying sharp, witty, and passion-fueled observational humor for over thirty years and has popped up on shows like Last Comic Standing, Louie, Tosh.O, and almost every late night talk show you can name. If you've ever been to the Improv then you've probably seen his opening PSA video before the show reminding you that there's only two things an audience is supposed to do at a comedy cub: "laugh and shut up." But this Thursday through Sunday, you can do some major laughing (but be sure to shut up afterwards!) when Todd headlines at the Irvine Improv!
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): One of my favorite jokes of yours is when someone does that "jerking off" motion. But for too long. Since most jokes come from true life...did you know someone who did that or did you come up with that one when you were jerking off?
Todd Glass: [Laughs.] Unfortunately no. It was just silly. It started off as a "what if," which most of my jokes start off with. You can only do it like two times in order to be legitimate. That made us laugh too because we were like, what if a guy did that for too long and then everyone was doing the gesture over and over. We were just complaining about things and doing the motion for way too long.
You've been known to shut a heckler down a time or two in your career, do you think people will ever get the hint?
You know, a lot of times hecklers cover a wide spread. The vicious heckler doesn't hardly happen at all. A lot of times it's just someone who's talking too loud and is disruptive either because they're disinterested, or because the joke reminded them of something and they keep talking and talking. I have zero tolerance for anyone who is disrupting a show. I set my standards high on what an audience should be because 99% of audience members know exactly how to act. That's how you know it's very doable. Nobody wants to go to a show and listen to someone chatting the whole time, even if they are enjoying the show. I'm very strict on that and I do it out of respect for the audience. And again, I'm not crazy because 99% of audience members don't yell out. A majority of them are great! But I'm not going to lie, it annoys the fuck out of me too!
It's become one of my biggest pet-peeves. I forget which comic told me once, "A comic might tell a rape joke but they're not going out and telling you to rape someone!" What do you think is off limits when it comes to comedy?
Well I don't think the topic should be judged because I do think any topic can be funny. But your attempt at the joke can be judged. I defend the right that you should be able to talk about anything, and I do mean anything, and I also defend that any topic can be funny. Abso-fucking-lutely. Now here comes the part that maybe some people will disagree with. When you do the joke, people do have the right to react to it. It's just that if you're going to make a joke about topic, why not make a joke that is going to stand the test of time? So, I do think that everything is open to discuss but I also think that people have the right to discuss it once you talk about it. And just because people discuss whether your joke was good or not, it doesn't mean that they're negating that you have the right to tell it. So, I don't defend all rape jokes but the right to tell them? Absolutely. I don't have any in my set but I'd critique them like any of my own jokes. If you make a joke about what it was like taking a bus to school and it's not good, it's not a big deal. But if you make a joke about rape, cancer, or AIDS...yeah, you want to think a little harder before you do that joke!
I sincerely could talk about that forever but let's move on to a lighter topic. When did all of these "pussy tweets" start on your Twitter? It's hysterical.
[Laughs.] Well it started as a joke when I was in Washington DC. A comedian friend of mine who was on the show with me Daniel Kinno took my phone and wrote, "Hey I'm in DC. Does anyone know where I can get some pussy? I have some coke." It was silly and the joke just became so over the top and so ridiculous. Part of me wanted to stop it even though I thought it was funny because I didn't want to be known as "the pussy comic" because taken out of context, it doesn't look like you're a great comic you know? So that's how that all started. They're all based on the absurdity of it. Like, no one is really serious about it like, "Todd is a pussy monster. Yum, yum, yum, yum. Pussy crumbs everywhere." Or, "I saw Todd eating thirty pussy's Thursday night!" Like who eats thirty pussy's a night? [Laughs.] It's really pretty funny.
They're hilarious. So how'd you hook up with Nerdist to do your podcast on their network?
It seems like it was only two or three years ago but Chris Hardwick was one of the few people producing podcasts. He just approached me and I was like, great! The reason people fell in love with podcasting is because it's basically giving radio the purity of stand-up. That's how basic it is. I really just fell in love with podcasting. Besides stand-up, which is still my favorite thing in the world to do and without sounding cheesy, my podcast is my other favorite thing in the world to do. It's just hanging out with guests and friends and being silly. It's like being thirteen but we're adults who get to play and at the same time, you get to smoke pot. [Laughs.]
I read somewhere that you're writing a book. Do you have a working title for it?
I did! Matter of fact I just turned in the final draft. Asking about the title could not be a more appropriate question at this point too. We're trying to figure out the title and aren't getting a lot of great feedback on the title that I want. Talk about coming full circle here! [Laughs.] When I was younger and I wanted to hide that I was gay, my fantasy was to meet a girl who had cancer. She would die and then I'd get to tell everyone, "I never got over Karen." It is twisted funny I know, but I wanted to call the book, "If I Could Only Meet A Girl With Cancer" because it was the length I would have gone to stay in the closet. Talk about a joke being misunderstood! Is that a joke about making fun of cancer? No! It's making fun of the pathetic, sad, and twisted funny place I was in at twenty. But I'm not having a lot of luck with that title. The other title I wanted was, "I Spill Hot Coffee on Your Baby." That's another story in the book because people would ask me about girls and I would do anything to get out of the topic. Like spill hot coffee on your baby. Either way, I just turned it in so we'll see. I've never written a book before and Simon & Schuster are publishing it and they've been awesome throughout the whole process. We're hoping for an April release for it.
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Well I can't wait to read it. And of course in the meantime, to see you in Irvine! When you're there will you pretty please record a new opener for them? It could use an updating.
I really like that club because they make sure people don't heckle, the staff is great, and they really take care of the comics. My last special came out on Netflix like six or seven months ago so right now, I'm just ready to go to Irvine and have some fun. I did another intro for them too but that's my favorite one because we know you're the customer but, you've got to shut the fuck up during the show! We did that one at the Brea Improv about fifteen years ago in-between shows. I think it is time for a new one though!
Catch Todd Glass at the Irvine Improv September 5th through 8th, 71 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For upcoming dates check out his website www.ToddGlass.com, listen to The Todd Glass Show on Nerdist, and follow him on Twitter @ToddGlass.