The Tragic Truth About Nikki Glaser

The following article includes mentions of suicide, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders.

Many comedians have suffered personal tragedies that serve as inspiration for the material they use to put smiles on the faces of their fans. According to Nikki Glaser, she and her fellow funny people also use laughter as a form of medicine. "They make jokes about themselves before you can get to them. Comedians are the saddest people in the world," she said on "Addiction Talk."

Glaser has ticked off a few boxes used to gauge a comic's success, such as nabbing HBO specials and landing a hosting gig. The latter, "FBoy Island," allowed her to repackage her bawdy brand of humor for consumers of dating shows who might not have been fans of hers before. Glaser also possesses an exceptional ability to verbally eviscerate celebrities; she was highly lauded for her jokes at the Tom Brady roast. However, she told Interview that the stress of writing material for celebrity roasts leaves her in tears. "I think I'm going to bomb," she explained.

Glaser also told Newsweek that remaining on top of her comedy game isn't easy when she's dealing with a breakup. "It just permeates everything. I'm walking around like an open wound," she said. Unfortunately, she can't pull a Taylor Swift and pour her heart out about her heartbreak — if she wants to channel that pain into her art, she has to find a way to make it funny. She's proved that she's up for the challenge by not letting some serious adversity fracture her funnybone.

Her intrusive thoughts about death and suicidal ideations

On "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," Nikki Glaser's interview took a dark turn when she revealed that she struggles with intrusive thoughts about death, which is why she titled her second HBO special "Someday You'll Die." She said that the realization that her time on Earth is fleeting suddenly hits her out of nowhere on occasion. "Sometimes, as a person that suffers with depression, it's a nice thought," she said. To lighten the mood a bit amid her bleak musings, she jokingly compared remembering that death is a thing to the uncertainty that surrounds obtaining a Real ID.

Glaser has also struggled with suicidal ideation, which she first experienced in fourth grade. On the "Wife of the Party" podcast, she revealed that she had an unfortunate accident at a sleepover, which another attendee decided to share with their entire class. Glaser was humiliated and became terrified that a crush in another class would learn about it. She recalled thinking, "God, I'm going to have to kill myself if this boy finds out I wet the bed."

Glaser's suicidal ideations continued into adulthood. "Usually I'm sleeping a lot when I'm depressed, and something that I do to lull myself to sleep is think about killing myself," she said on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger." However, she added that she wouldn't take her own life because of how it would affect her loved ones, including a close friend who has already lost someone to suicide.

Her eating disorder almost killed her

On the "Ask Mayim Anything" podcast, Nikki Glaser revealed that she had an intense emotional response to the September 11 attacks when she was a senior in high school. Two months later, a friend died by suicide. While she was in a fragile emotional state due to these traumatizing events, a guy she was crushing on invited her to hang out with him. "I just was so nervous about going to this boy's house, I didn't eat," she recalled. When a popular girl complimented Glaser's figure the next day, getting the validation she craved triggered a dangerous response in the comedian. "I stopped eating for like three months ... I just got anorexic overnight," Glaser recalled on the "Howie Mandel Does Stuff" podcast. She said that her appearance was akin to that of a Holocaust victim at one point.

Glaser went in for a physical before she left for college but was told that she would not be going home after doctors checked her vitals. "They were like, 'You're gonna die,'" she recalled. She was placed in a psych ward but was released when she promised to adhere to a diet plan, which was a lie. It wasn't until later in college that she discovered something that made her want to get better: stand-up comedy. She tried it for the first time after a friend signed her up for a comedy competition. "It was this moment of, 'I have a reason to live finally,'" she recalled.

Nikki Glaser's self-image struggles

Nikki Glaser might be the Le Creuset of celebrity roasters, but being adept at skewering stars hasn't given her tough beef jerky skin. Speaking to Vanity Fair about the jokes she was the butt of during "The Roast of Tom Brady," she confessed, "They hurt, and they've lingered, and I've focused on them a little too much." She then lightly roasted Tiffany Trump by saying that being compared to Donald Trump's youngest daughter was one of the jokes that hurt the most. (Maybe she just hasn't seen Tiffany's new look?)

Glaser's insecurity about her appearance has served as the inspiration for some of her material. "I was diagnosed as an ugly child at the age of 11 by a caricature artist at a Six Flags," she says in her Netflix special "Nikki Glaser: Bangin'." But feeling bad about the way she looked was no joke to her back then. On "Wife of the Party," Glaser revealed that she would get angry at her parents for giving birth to her knowing that their gene pool was tainted by some ancestors she didn't consider attractive. Deciding to pursue a career in comedy while being female did not help her self-esteem issues. She told Out in Jersey she hates that her appearance matters so much, but she knows she'll cave to the pressure to keep making adjustments as she ages. "Joan Rivers died on an operating table trying to stay young, and I will probably follow suit," she said.

The reaction to her Bob Saget song stung

One of Bob Saget's final TV appearances was on Nikki Glaser's show, "Welcome Home Nikki Glaser." The two comics were close, and Glaser was deeply saddened by his death in 2022. "I haven't lost too many friends in my lifetime, so I'm grateful to Bob for this lesson in grieving," she wrote on Instagram.

Something that sets Glaser apart from many other comics is that she isn't afraid to be vulnerable and speak about her suffering without providing fans with that cushion of comedy that prevents them from feeling too uncomfortable. Glaser has used singing as an avenue to express this side of herself. "I'd like to write one good song before I die. One that makes people feel 1/128th as emotional as I feel listening to 98% of Taylor Swift or Wilco's catalog," she told Interview magazine. "I'd like to leave behind something sincere." But when Glazer recorded a heartfelt tribute song to Bob Saget, some people just couldn't take her sincerity seriously. "I did get made fun of ... I knew I would, but it was worse than I thought it would be," she told Salon. While she admitted that the reaction to her singing was humiliating, she felt even worse after giving dancing a shot — she was the first contestant eliminated when she competed on "Dancing with Stars" in 2018. "It was the most embarrassing moment of my life, and I really cared about that show," she said.

Nikki Glaser got bullied by another comedian

On "The Nikki Glaser Podcast," Nikki Glaser revealed that she got bullied by another female comedian early in her career. She had regular run-ins with the unnamed mean girl at the Funny Bone comedy club in St. Louis, where the bully attempted to ruin Glaser's rep by spreading false rumors about her sleeping with multiple male comics, including Doug Benson and Pauly Shore. The woman also accused Glaser of performing material that was written by someone else. "I was always scared of her," Glaser said.

The other comic decided to take her campaign of targeted terrorizing to the stage one night. She performed a mini-roast of Glaser, who was not yet famous enough for most of the audience to know who she was. Glaser believes that the bully's aim was to humiliate her in front of her friends and fellow comedians. According to Glaser, her tormentor said, "Nikki Glaser is the Sarah Palin of stand-up comedy." For Glaser, this was an immensely offensive slight.

The bully shook Glaser's confidence so much that her mere presence in the crowd made Glaser start to bomb one of her sets. The "Lovers and Liars" host tried to turn things around by blurting out that she had just learned that she had HPV. "My brain was like, 'She's watching you; she hates you; she's going to talk s**t about you,'" Glaser recalled. "'Bully yourself right now more than she could ever bully you.'"

If you or anyone you know is struggling or in crisis, or if you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, contact the relevant resources below: