By Graeme Wiggins
The best-laid plans don’t always work out the way you intend them to. My intention in interviewing veteran comedian and podcaster Todd Glass was to talk about how his podcast The Todd Glass Show influenced his comedy, how and why he tours with a band, his infamous love of comedy venues getting things just right, and his Netflix special Act Happy. And to be fair, we did have that discussion. But nearer the end of the interview he went on a tangent, as he is prone to do, and the result was a refreshing take on a topic that’s been tread to death.
“I hear so many comedians be like ‘The walls are getting smaller and smaller; you can’t say anything anymore,’” says Glass. “You can always say pretty much anything you want. 30 years ago if you talked about not believing in God, just you not believing in it, just your view, you couldn’t do that. I wish some comedians would take a second from thinking about what they can’t say anymore and instead think about what they can say.”
It’s not as though he doesn’t understand the motivation, but rather that he sees it as emphasizing the wrong things. As Glass puts it, there are a lot more things comedians can talk about than they used to be able to: “I get it, sometimes you have to ignore the outcry about ‘We didn’t like that joke!’ If we didn’t ignore the collective pulse of a comedy club some nights, we wouldn’t have good comedy. The audience isn’t always right, but they aren’t always wrong either. When you say you can’t say anything anymore, how about sexuality? How about me? I want to say to all the comedians who say you can’t say anything anymore, how about the fact that I can mention that I am gay on stage for two minutes? I talk about it and then move on. It used to be that you could talk about it, but if you did you had to talk about it for the whole hour because they’ll never get over it. That’s a big deal! It’s a big goddamn fucking big deal!”
This lack of understanding is sad to Glass – it’s as though these comedians are aging out of comedy. “Once you say ‘the kids today,’ you’re done being relevant in comedy,” he says. “Fucking throw in the towel. Have you no humility as a comedian? Do you not hear yourself? You’re a grandpa, give it up!” With a positive attitude like that, let’s hope Glass never grows up.
Catch Todd Glass live as part of JFL Northwest at the Rio Theatre on February 20 or performing a live version of his podcast, The Todd Glass Show, on February 21 at the Fox Cabaret.act happy, JFL Northwest, Todd Glass