Jon Glaser took his love for subverting reality TV tropes (as seen previously on Adult Swim’s Delocated), perhaps found some inspiration from the heightened ridiculousness of Comedy Central’s Review, and satires not only gadget gurus, outdoorsy types but also himself once more in the outlandishly funny new truTV series, Jon Glaser Loves Gear.
The truth in comedy, in this case, came organically.
As Glaser explained Tuesday night in a panel session for the New York Television Festival, “I do genuinely love gear.”
But his original pitch to truTV incorporated gear and gadgetry into a larger sketch or variety series.
“It was a much smaller idea, that at the time, I thought could be a smaller part of a larger show, whatever that would be – whether that’s a sketch show or maybe a variety show. I still want do a show called Jon Glaser’s Potpourri, which is maybe down the line,” Glaser said, as both he and the audience laughed at that.
The true inspiration came from a bit that could come straight out of Andy Kaufman.
“I did this routine onstage, where it kind of came from just trying to think of something new, and came up with what I thought was this really dumb idea. And I set this up onstage where I tell the audience. I’m wearing this raincoat, the hood is on, full tabs. This is just how I walk onstage, and I say, ‘I was trying to think of something new to do tonight, challenge myself creatively, and I was having a tough time. I had writer’s block. I went back to that tried-and-true device and just write about what your passions. Write about what you love, and ideas will come. And I realized, I love this raincoat. And I was going to go onstage and talk about it.’ I do just that. There’s no jokes at all. It’s just talking about the features. I love how it’s got a high neck, and the zip comes up high, and it’s got two tabs in the back, but also the pocket here on the inside, blah blah blah blah blah. Really, really dry. Zero jokes. For whatever reason, it rides this wave of getting laughs and then not getting laughs, and people I think not sure, and then I do that for about two to three minutes, and then open it up to a Q-and-A to the audience about the jacket.”
Glaser continued: “And it, for me, it just really goes well and it’s fun to do, and I thought that could be a funny kind of segment in a show. And I just kept thinking on it, and the more I thought about it, it just became a bigger and bigger idea, and became more of its own idea. It was still very loose when I pitched it to truTV. But thankfully, they sort of, I think got the overall gist. Even from pitch to pilot to series to shooting, it just kept evolving to what it is now.”
Steve Cirbus (who also co-starred in Delocated), was originally supposed to be in only one episode here, but became a recurring character. John Hodgman voices Gear-i, Glaser’s customized version of Siri on his phone, with not only advice but also companionship throughout the series.
Here’s Glaser taking up Gear-i’s screenplay idea for the next great bike messenger movie, as depicted in episode two of Jon Glaser Loves Gear. Almost immediately, the thing goes off all beaten paths. With amazing cameos, too.
Graphics display all of the brands and products Glaser and his cohorts wear and use during each episode, but it’s not strictly product placement. Glaser said companies were invited to send them items, but not promised anything in return.
It’s all in good, weird fun. No hate here. After all, it is called Jon Glaser Loves Gear.
Jon Glaser Loves Gear premieres tonight with back-to-back episodes on truTV.