You probably know him better as Councilman Jamm from NBC’s Parks and Recreation, but now actor and comedian Jon Glaser is tapping into one of his real passions: gear.
His new pseudo-reality show Jon Glaser Loves Gear airs this month on truTV where he’ll get into the best and worst gear he finds.
The Morning Shift talks to Glaser about the show, his off-center brand of comedy and what makes this comedian laugh.
On the inspiration for Jon Glaser Loves Gear
It comes from this earnest place. Gear has a wide definition. It’s not techy, computer gadget stuff, although that could be a subset. It’s all about the details of whatever activity you’re into. It could be athletic, it could be outdoorsy, it could be books.
[It’s] kind of geeking out about the details, like, ‘I got this pair of cycling goggles and they have interchangeable lenses and they’ve got these little slits in the side for airflow and it’s super cool!’ That sort of, I think, is the spirit of the show.
On playing the villain
I guess I was born to play jerks. It’s just fun to do. I remember when I got hired at [Late Night with Conan O’Brien], we both realized that we had the shared joy of the confident idiot. Just playing this high status jerk, who’s ignorant, as a performer, when you’re doing comedy it’s just fun.
On finding vulnerability in characters who are “jerks” (and in real life jerks)
It can’t just be 100 percent abrasive … just so it’s not one note. You have to see the truth behind that type of person. Even with what’s going on in today’s politics, there’s a reason for it. It’s a lot of times, I think, fear based and insecurity and petulance and manifests itself in this overcompensation of awfulness. When you have an extreme character like that, clearly there’s other stuff going on below the surface.
On what he watches for a good belly laugh
The first thing that pops to mind is America’s Funniest Home Videos, just because I watch that with my kids and it’s easy family entertainment. But it also is hilarious. There is always at least one or two things each show that I’m crying laughing.
On how Councilman Jamm would vote in this election.
It seems like the obvious choice would be Trump but it’s funny to think about him secretly going in there and voting for Hillary. Or maybe he would just write himself in.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.