Reviews

No Twerk Zone: Ilana Glazer Gives a Dialed-Down Stand-Up Show About Her Life

Comedian Ilana Glazer, though extra silly on Broad City, had a more serious message.
Comedian Ilana Glazer, though extra silly on Broad City, had a more serious message. Jim Louvau
This is the person who, most likely, changed the way America spells "yes" and "queen." It is now, "yas kween."

Whether that is now played (it is), when the Comedy Central series Broad City started in 2014, that shit was hot. In fact, everything on Broad City was hot — drinking, smoking, straight East Coasting in New York, New York, dating idiot men (Lincoln Rice aside), being funny, being loud, not being great with money, getting in trouble, making bad decisions, and depending on your friends. Executive producer Amy Poehler may describe the female-fronted series best: "Women always have to be the eye rollers. ... Young women can be lost, too."

Broad City just ended after five seasons. The stars, Ilana Wexler (Glazer) and Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson), are moving on with other projects. Glazer is starting with The Planet Is Burning tour, touching on topics similar to the show, like relationships, sexuality, and fascism.

Out of the three shows Glazer is performing this weekend at The Van Buren, two have sold out. Jeremiah Gratza, director of operations for Stateside Presents, says they had to add two shows for Glazer, the first time that's happened at The Van Buren. In fact, the majority of the Burning tour dates across the country are sold out — which speaks for itself. People love this bish.


click to enlarge Ilana Glazer (right) and Abbi Jacobson portray two New Yorkers trying to survive in Comedy Central's Broad City. - COMEDY CENTRAL
Ilana Glazer (right) and Abbi Jacobson portray two New Yorkers trying to survive in Comedy Central's Broad City.
Comedy Central
Many Glazer fans may not have known what to expect — is it stand up, a one-woman show? And some of us didn't want to know, would rather be surprised by what the inspirational 32-year-old is going to do up there.

Well we're here to tell you, Glazer's tour confirms she is one hell of an actress.

Yes, Glazer came out high energy, running around and dancing. Yes, she did the splits. But after she caught her breath, and did a few voluntary poses for Instagram, she asked the crowd to put away their phones and be present. Clock out. I'm at work, not you, she said.

Within minutes, the audience saw just how different Glazer is from her Broad City character. She's collected, she gets anxiety around people, she's married to a cisgender white male ("Ew," as she put it). She prefers the term partner instead of husband, but this being a comedy show, spills, "But I'm Jewish so, if I say 'my partner,' people may think my lawyer."

She wasn't helicoptering her crop top above her head. She wasn't wall twerking. She didn't immediately talk about shit and fucking (again, not immediately), and she didn't mention Jacobson.

What followed was a dialed-down stand-up show about her life — and ours, as many young women were able to relate. She asks us to not tell her feminist friends, but, she enjoys making a house a home. Shhh. She also goes into a full recap of the Diva Cup process, as well as the failures of other menstrual products.

click to enlarge There was no wall-twerking. - JIM LOUVAU
There was no wall-twerking.
Jim Louvau
This may seem like obvious, '90s-style female comic fodder, but it's not. It's still insanely relevant. Because women are still experiencing these trials and errors every day with the products we have to buy.

Her set is proof that Glazer is constantly paying attention. To politics, even Arizona politics. She calls John McCain cunty as a compliment, and says she needs to move to Arizona to be truly represented, a nod to bisexual, female senator Kyrsten Sinema.

She also brings up hate in its current and past forms, like Trump's over-sunned dad Nazis versus Hitler's "impressive" yet maybe-closeted-homosexuals Nazis. She talks about homophobia being a joke at this point. How lesbians won the game ("You beat the simulation"), and how sexism is just stupidity. "I don't know how you men do it, carrying around those big old heavy brains of yours and those big, old swinging balls," she says, taking giant, exaggerated steps in her signature cut-off shorts.

The venue may not have been the best choice for such an experience. Glazer's set was more of a conversation deserving a well-designed comedy club setting — not the latest in reconstructed music venue offerings. Seats were cushioned folding chairs on a flat floor. If someone so much as cracked their neck a row ahead, you lost sight of Glazer. And don't get me started on those ballpark drink prices.

click to enlarge The message was clear for this crowd — the end of boomer culture is nigh. - JIM LOUVAU
The message was clear for this crowd — the end of boomer culture is nigh.
Jim Louvau
The overall message was clear in Glazer's hour, the end of boomer culture is nigh. And everyone seems ready.

Everyone in that crowd, anyway. Early on, there were shouts of "Yas kween," and "We love you, Ilana!" But it became clear, pretty quickly, it was not that type of show. Once Glazer got her super fans under control, asked us to keep our phones away, people seemed to settle in — and open up.

That's not to say wild applause didn't follow her skewering of Hollywood dipshit Mel Gibson, or referring to Trump as the puny whitehead of the raw, cystic backne that is American politics. We did.

But the crowd was respectable, listening as Glazer communicated to us, using her own avenue, that, hey, we might be in trouble. Pay attention. Because the planet is burning.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano