The inimitable Eliot Glazer’s in town tonight for a new round of Haunting Renditions at the Bell House, so I caught up with him over the phone a few weeks ago to talk about the show, the iconic theme song from Beverly Hills Cop, sound baths in LA, staying sane in 2017 and MORE, so internet-eavesdrop on all of that below, grab tickets to see EG tonight w/ Thorgy Thor and Michelle Buteau, and follow him on Twitter for all the latest updates!
So the show’s coming up on good old 4.20; can we expect any special ties into that?
Yeah, I don’t quite know exactly what it’ll be yet, but we’ll definitely be commemorating the holy day.
Amazing. And I saw the other day that one of your past guests, Danny Tamberelli, just got engaged. Do you think he’ll ask you to sing at his wedding?
[Laughs] I mean, that would be awesome. I didn’t hear about that, but I’d certainly sing at his wedding if he asked me to.
Have people asked you to do that before?
People have asked me jokingly, but I think also maybe half-seriously? So I haven’t done it yet, but I certainly would.
Well now people know that you’re down, so maybe they’ll completely seriously start asking you. Now, you’ve been doing Haunting Renditions for a while; do you notice any differences between the ways that LA and NYC audiences interact with the show?
Definitely. The audiences in LA are a little bit more reserved. The first time we did the show in LA we had sold out crowds, but the audience felt quiet in a way that I’d never experienced before, and friends assured me that it wasn’t because they weren’t paying attention, it was just that they were in awe of what they were seeing. I don’t mean that in a braggy way, I just mean that it’s a different kind of genre, and so without anybody having seen that before, they were just trying to make sense of this weird combination of music and comedy that isn’t actually musical comedy; it sort of lives in between, where they’re seeing a trained musician with a bizarre sense of humor sort of unload his brain, and the format kind of falls into an absurdist comedy style. I think sometimes that sort of alienates people, and sometimes it just causes people to stop and really think, because they’re not just being fed punchlines.
Totally. And you’re already sort of combining your love of pop culture with music and humor, but if you could re-soundtrack any movie or TV in existence, whether it’s you doing the music or you’re just hand-picking songs by other people, which one would you choose?
Honestly, I don’t even know the other songs besides the theme to Beverly Hills Cop, but that song is so iconic and weird and synthy, and I used to love it as a kid. I thought it was the greatest song. So without even knowing what else is on the soundtrack, that would first and foremost be the one that I’d want to recreate.
That would be incredible. I also know you’re a big fan of The Golden Girls (as many of us are), so have you been out to that new Golden Girls-themed cafe? Or are you planning to go? I think it’s out in the Bronx or something.
Yeah, I think you’re right that it’s in the Bronx. I haven’t been yet, but that’ll be the first stop when I come back into town. I didn’t have a chance a couple of weeks ago, but I come back enough that it’s definitely on the list as the first thing I have to do when I get back.
I haven’t been yet, either, but I really want to go! It seems so far away, though, which seems like such a stupid thing to say since it’s what, like an hour on the train?
Yeah, it’s kind of a weird destination, but I think it’s certainly worth the time on the train. Whatever it takes to get there. [Laughs]
For sure. And how long have you kind of been doing the bi-coastal thing between LA and NYC?
I started writing on the show Younger, so I was spending four months writing in LA and then going back to New York to shoot it and also do my other business. But I made the move to LA in January of 2016, and I’m there permanently, but I’m back in New York really quite often for Broad City, Haunting Renditions and other short time gigs.
Cool. So obviously both cities have their own sets of stereotypical traits, but what would you say is the most sort of cliche LA thing that you’ve adopted into your lifestyle since moving permanently?
Well, there are always ridiculous fads. People are so obsessed with health and nutrition here, and spirituality, in a way that’s healthy but cliche. Lately people have been going to these things called sound baths where you’re in some sort of room or open space with blankets and cushions, and you lay down and you’re technically bathed in sound with people who are playing…I forget what they’re called, exactly, but bowls, and also chimes and gongs, and it sounds so silly, but it’s the most delicious and invigorating nap you’ll ever have, even though you’re sleeping to loud sound effects. You’re sleeping to the sound of a gong being banged, but it’s so relaxing. So I’ve done a bunch of sound baths, and that’s my real sort of Achilles’ heel in LA right now. [Laughs]
That sounds pretty amazing. I want that.
Yeah, it’s such a strange thing, and a lot of people talk about it as intensive and spiritually transformative. For me, maybe it’s because I’m a jaded New Yorker or I’m a comedian, but it’s really hard to sort of let myself go in that way and feel transformed by anything in particular, so I just use sound baths to basically take a really nice nap. Lulled to sleep by a crazy lullaby, but I love it. I’ve done it a bunch.
Hey, it’s 2017; we need all the self-care we can get. What besides the sound baths have you been doing to kind of maintain your sanity in the midst of this planetary garbage fire?
Honestly, for me, I’m so weirded out by what’s happening, and I know everyone’s talked about normalization and how we shouldn’t normalize Trump, but now that it’s a reality, I’m trying to deal with it in a way that I never forget how strange it is, but still understanding that this is what’s going on and we have to deal with it without pretending it’s not there. So for me, the way that I keep that in check is through Samantha Bee. Her show is remarkably responsible in the way that it holds the administration accountable for every move that they make. Also, there’s a newsletter that I read that I love called What The Fuck Just Happened Today, and I think it’s one guy, and every day he collects a handful of stories that basically keeps a record of all the lunacy that’s going on so that nothing’s forgotten. So through Samantha Bee and this newsletter I’m trying not to go crazy, but also to bear in mind that while I never want to normalize Trump, we have to deal with the facts as they are, that somehow he’s in charge, and even though I can’t believe my ears every single time I hear somebody say “President Trump”, we have to, you know, sort of forge on and battle every obstacle in our way with some sort of dignity. It’s all really hard to swallow, and it boggles my mind every day. Even if I wanted it to be a little more bearable at this point, it still feels to me like the day after the election. So it’s honestly been that newsletter and Samantha Bee and also Rachel Maddow and Seth Meyers, too. Organizations that are keeping the administration accountable.
I feel the exact same way. It’s insane. But going back to WAY simpler times, I saw one of the clips from when you started your own TV network as a kid. Let’s say that in another universe you’d continued down that Eliot Glazer TV network path; what would the programming look like?
That’s a great question. I guess mostly comedy, probably a lot of sketch shows. It’s funny, the reason that my sister and I were so gung-ho about filming all these sketches and calling it KRAP TV was because our grandfather did that. He was a remarkable man, and he got a camcorder pretty early on. He was in his fifties or sixties when he got it, and this was a fully-grown adult man before America’s Funniest Home Videos filming sketch comedy and political satire for his own enjoyment. He filmed a sort of Weekend Update-style political segment with a sign in the background called KRAP TV, and he wrote his own comedy and made a bunch of sketch videos. So I think that was probably primary programming that inspired my sister and I to embrace comedy. (But clearly there would also be a lot of Golden Girls reruns all the time, too.)