Ilana Glazer, of Broad City fame, knows how to wrangle a community. “There’s a lot of Jews in comedy, a lot of Glazers up in New York,” she says, referring to tonight’s Glas/zer Family Reunion at the Bell House in Gowanus. She and her brother Eliot — who co-created Shit New Yorkers Say — will be joined by homophonically named fellow comedians Aaron Glaser and Jon Glaser for what she describes as “a fun, very loose and relaxed night of laid-back comedy and kind of a variety-hour show.”
For the uninitiated, here’s a rundown of the lineup’s stacked bona fides: Ilana writes and stars with Abbi Jacobson in the aforementioned Comedy Central hit; Eliot is a staff writer on TV Land’s Hilary Duff–reviving sitcom Younger and has a recurring role on Broad City — if you haven’t seen the “pegging” episode, get on it — where he plays Ilana’s brother; Aaron Glaser is a UCB staple and co-host of the weekly Slow Dance Comedy Night at Niagara in the East Village; and, if you don’t know Jon from Adult Swim’s Delocated, or from Girls, where he plays Hannah’s one-time one-night stand/neighbor, Laird, or as an enormous range of characters on Conan, then you certainly remember him as Pawnee’s least favorite dentist, Councilman Jamm from Parks and Recreation.
“We have all these comedian friends who have the same last name, but a different spelling was funny, with the S/Z — it’s funnier. It’s a nerdy thing to like,” Ilana says. “We all kind of came up at the same time. Jon Glaser came up in the comedy world before us; we came up at the same time as Aaron….In this community, it’s really easy to unify and feel familiar quickly.”
“It’s cool to have Jon on board, because Jon is pretty much a legend in his own right, especially after the stuff he did on Conan and Delocated. It’s really an honor to get to work with him, too,” Eliot adds. “For years, I’ve said there’s a nice camp and a not-as-nice camp in comedy. We’ve been able to navigate the terrain of nice camp and get to work with people who like to collaborate and like to share the stage. It’s just an extension of that.” He also notes that the Bell House show will be a mixed bag. “There’s going to be bits, there’ll be stand-up, there’ll be music” — this last to be provided by a band from New Jersey called Glazer, naturally. Ilana is quick to emphasize the spelling of their name: “[It’s] also with a Z, which helped Eliot and I out because we’re the only ones with Z’s. It’s gonna be a fun night of variety and entertainment.”
It’s not all just laughs, though, and the theme pays off on a bigger scale as well. “What’s nice is that [we’re working with] the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation for Pediatric AIDS and we could tie it in,” Ilana says. “We were able to tie in the proceeds from the Bell House, who were so down to give all the proceeds [to charity]. It’s also nice to connect something with such gravity and so heavy with a light comedy show.” Eliot is not unfamiliar with giving back, either, as he has done work with the Ally Coalition, a foundation for homeless gay youths founded by Bleachers/fun.’s Jack Antonoff and his sister, fashion designer Rachel. “It’s been really a joy to get the chance to do my dumb comedy and connect with something important and actively charitable,” Eliot says.
But for the purposes of tonight’s show, the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation was chosen to coincide with the night’s theme. “We didn’t even really think about the cause; we just thought it would be cool to pair up with a foundation with the same last name. But obviously it’s also really fantastic to donate the money toward a really important cause,” he says. “Elizabeth Glaser was really powerful and important and groundbreaking, so it’s certainly an exciting person to connect in some way to the show.”
Adds Ilana, “We were stoked, because it gave what we thought was a fun, stupid little night some meaning and purpose.”
The Glas/zer Family Reunion goes down at the Bell House on September 23. For ticket information, click here.