The Jon Glaser Interview
Interview by Patrick McGuire, Illustration by Michael Deforge

J

on Glaser is an ex-Second City ex-Conan O’Brien writer who now directs, writes and stars in a hilarious comedy on Adult Swim called Delocated, which you’re only going to see in Canada if you’re good at downloading things. It’s a fake reality show dramedy that follows around a family in the witness protection program that has moved to New York City to be in their own reality show. I called Jon super hungover the day after Thanksgiving from my little brother’s bedroom at my parents’ house.

What does the Billy Joel song ‘A Matter of Trust’ mean to you?


What can I say? It means everything to me. If I had to choose one song as an inspiration, that’s the song. It’s all about trust. It’s all about things that matter.

And you had a gag band for that song right?


Yeah it was an idea that Jon Benjamin came up with, to do a Billy Joel ‘A Matter of Trust’ cover band. It was me, Todd Barry, Jon Benjamin and James Mcnew (who was the bass player of Yo La Tengo) and we would just play that song twice. We would play it once, then we would play it as an encore, then we were done. It was really fun. Super stupid.

Do you have any favourite characters to play, besides your Delocated character?

I do this character live that calls himself a “dreamedian”, and he’s a comedian who bases all of his comedy on his dreams. The whole premise of it is that he considers himself a comedian. He says how comedians make
observations on their daily lives to come up with jokes, but he does it about his dream life. It’s a really long dry setup where he explains to the audience what it means to be a dreamedian and what the process is. The whole premise of this bit is that I’ll do a joke, I’ll say “OK, here’s this first joke it’s based on this flying dream I had”, then I’ll go into a 5-10 minute description of the dream... super dry, no jokes, detailed, really flowery, super annoying description of the dream that ends with a hacky punch line that talks about how the plane crashed, looking for the black box, searching through this corn field... and the whole culmination is the punch line. “Why don’t they make the whole plane out of the black box?” it’s just an excuse to do these hacky punch lines.

Where did Mighty Joe John The Black Blonde come from?


John Lee had the idea for Mighty Joe John The Black Blonde from this Sega boxing game where one of the characters was a black guy with blonde hair. He named him Mighty Joe John The Black Bonde. I thought that was hilarious.

What about the Skamitzfah?

I thought it would be funny to do some sort of ska something. A ska themed Bar Mitzvah seemed nice and dumb and funny.

Did you ever like ska?


I went through a ska phase. It was fucking excellent. It was an awesome ska phase. I had a lot of CDs, went to a few ska shows and skanked in the back. Skanked pretty hard.

The hysterical and/or super violent content in Delocated must be fun to act out, like when your character takes off running down the street in his underwear and checks himself into the mental institution.

It was very fun to run around in my underwear although it was very cold. It took a little bit of the fun out of it because it was freezing. But I’m not complaining. I hate when actors go on talk shows like, “Oh I had to jump in the pool and it was so cold!” But of course those are actors that are making millions of dollars. I’m making dollars. Dozens and dozens of dollars.

Do you enjoy the Delocated process? Writing, directing, starring in your own show?


It’s pretty ideal. It’s been extremely fun and it’s a combination of the dumb idea for the show and doing it at a network that supports that idea and having everyone that works on it be really fun to work with. Hopefully I can keep doing it.

How do you think Delocated could use TasteVision?

Delocated could use TasteVision for all the sandwiches we like to talk about. And I’ll just leave it at that.

Originally published in Winter 2010, Issue 5.1.