The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies about My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories about My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy

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9781476714417: The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies about My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories about My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy

A hilarious, poignant memoir from comedian Todd Glass about his decision at age forty-eight to finally live openly as a gay man—and the reactions and support from his comedy pals, from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman.

Growing up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1970s was an easy life. Well, easy as long as you didn’t have dyslexia or ADD, or were a Jew. And once you added gay into the mix, life became more difficult. So Todd Glass decided to hide the gay part, no matter how comic, tragic, or comically tragic the results.

It might have been a lot easier had he chosen a profession other than stand-up comedy. By age eighteen, Todd was opening for big musical acts like George Jones and Patti LaBelle. His career carried him through the Los Angeles comedy heyday in the 1980s, its decline in the 1990s, and its rebirth via the alternative comedy scene and the explosion in podcasting. But the harder he worked at his craft, the more difficult it became to manage his “situation.” There were the years of abstinence and half-hearted attempts to “cure” himself. The fake girlfriends so that he could tell relationship jokes onstage. The staged sexual encounters to burnish his reputation offstage. It took a brush with death to cause him to rethink the way he was living his life; a rash of suicides among gay teens to convince him that it was finally time to come out to the world.

Now, Todd has written an open, honest, and hilarious memoir in an effort to help everyone—young and old, gay and straight—breathe a little more freely. Peppered with anecdotes from his life among comedy’s greatest headliners and tales of the occasionally insane lengths Todd went through to keep a secret that—let’s face it—he probably didn’t have to keep for as long as he did, The Todd Glass Situation is a front-row seat to the last thirty plus years of comedy history and a deeply personal story about one man’s search for acceptance.

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About the Author:

Todd Glass is a Philadelphia native who has been performing standup comedy since he was sixteen. In addition to specials on Comedy Central and Netflix, Todd has appeared on numerous TV shows, including The Daily Show, Louie, Last Comic Standing, The Sarah Silverman Program, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show. He’s also the host of The Todd Glass Show, a popular podcast on the Nerdist Network. The Todd Glass Situation is his first book.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Todd Glass Situation CHAPTER 1

LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF ICING

Where Todd promises himself he’ll grow up into a silly adult.


It’s funny how many of the memories that stick with you—the ones that shape you and make you who you are as an adult—are things that you never thought were important at the time.

Once in a while, when I was little, my mom would fix up a bowl of icing. She placed it on the kitchen table with five spoons: one for her, each of my three brothers, and for me. Obviously, we loved this little family tradition, but we didn’t understand why we were so lucky.

“When I was a little girl,” Mom explained, “I used to love to lick the icing off the beaters. But wouldn’t a whole bowl of icing be better? And I thought, when I grow up, I’m going to give my kids bowls of icing.”

Children make promises all the time about the things they’re going to do when they grow up, but how many of them really follow through as adults? My mom did. Even if it was just a bowl of icing.

It was 1970. We lived in a row house on Kilburn Road in Northeast Philadelphia. My parents were social people who loved to have friends over at night. Once in a while, when my brothers and I were tucked in bed upstairs, listening to everyone laughing down below, one of the adults would come upstairs to “check on us.” Occasionally this involved jumping up and down on the bed or playing some silly game with us. I remember being five years old and making a promise to myself, just like my mother did: When I get old, I’m going to act silly, too.

By the way, we should establish two things. First, that for me, “old” meant my parents’ age, which at the time was twenty-six. Way old, right? I remember an early bit I used to do with my older brother Michael, when I was maybe eight, pretending that we were talking on the phone in the future. “Hey, Michael, I’m fifty today.”

“What are you going to do today, Todd, for your fiftieth birthday?”

“Well, I guess I’ll just stay in the house and shit in my pants and yell at people to get off my lawn. I mean, I’m fifty, what else would I do?”

The second thing, this being the 1970s, is that it wasn’t uncommon for a joint to get passed around at these gatherings. One morning I asked my parents why they’d been laughing so hard the night before. My mom tried to explain what was so funny, obviously without mentioning the fact that they were high.

“Your father asked me, ‘How come they have an extra-large and an extra-small, but there isn’t an extra-medium?’ ” I thought it was a pretty funny joke, even if I didn’t understand that their laughter had been enhanced. Years later I would put the line into my act, where it would stay for a very long time.

There were a lot of things I didn’t understand as a kid that make sense to me now. Like when my dad would come into the room in the morning and say, “Hey, do you want to go to work with me?” Adding, if I showed even the slightest hesitation, “Come on! I’ll let you sit in the backseat of the station wagon with the window open, just how you like. And we can get French fries at that place where you eat them with a wooden fork.”

Later, I found out that these incredible acts of generosity from my dad were actually meant for my mom, who needed a time-out from listening to me. Because I liked to talk.

And talk.

I talked and I talked and I talked.

When I say I talked a lot, I mean I never shut the fuck up. My parents, to their credit, never told me to shut the fuck up. “Why don’t you take a commercial break?” they would ask, in what even today feels like the gentlest and most creative way to tell me to shut up without ever once hurting my feelings.

My childhood had more commercial breaks than the Super Bowl, but they never kept my mom’s mischievous streak from shining through. Sometimes when I got home from school, she would jump out of the coat closet as I opened the door, scaring the shit out of me. Years later, I asked her how she knew when I was going to walk into the house. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “At first I would run into the closet when I saw your school bus coming up the street. But when you got off, you’d stop and talk to every adult you passed on the way home.”

She was right. The second I got off the bus, I was like a politician doing a meet and greet. I’d stop and make conversation with every neighbor who crossed my path.

“Did you guys paint the garage? Who painted it? Why’d you choose that color? How many cars are in the garage? Are they new? Which one is new? What do you mean, ‘pre-owned’? How is that different from used? So if it’s used, why not just say ‘used’?”

Looking back at it now, I can’t help but feel bad for my mom, sitting there in the dark, waiting for me to get home. Talk about committing to a bit!

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