Ilana Glazer Blazes Through the Trials of Modern Womanhood in ‘The Planet Is Burning’
Fresh off the success of “Broad City,” which concluded its run last year, Ilana Glazer returns with an Amazon comedy special to emphasize just how different she is from her fictional TV persona. “Ilana Glazer: The Planet Is Burning,” filmed at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall, is Glazer’s first solo special and is completely fueled by autobiography. Unlike other contemporaries, Glazer is not out to shock, although she can be provocative, and she’s not obsessed with finding punchlines in headlines. The punchline is that while the world goes crazy, a modern woman must still maneuver a whole array of trials and errors.
After running out on stage dancing and twerking, a lively Glazer gets her “Broad City” credentials out of the way, cracking some opening jokes on the differences between her and the Ilana from the comedy series. “Ilana Wexler obviously wakes and bakes, Ilana Glazer on the other hand wakes up, takes her vitamins and then I get high,” explains Glazer. Another key difference, the TV Ilana buys her weed herself, the real-life Glazer sends her husband on such an errand. It’s a rowdy commentary on how fans don’t always realize who they see onscreen is a completely different person behind the scenes. Born in 1987, the millennial Glazer also openly hopes the era of the Baby Boomers truly is ending in a cultural sense. She roasts the old stereotypes conditioning society to see itself as divided between strong, macho males and doting women reared to be wife material (“it hurts wobbling on these tiny little Betty Boop feet”). Of course this doesn’t mean Glazer doesn’t struggle with enjoying something as traditional as living with a long-term boyfriend and feeling joy in keeping a home orderly. But at the same time, Glazer firmly believes we’re coming to an understanding that binary gender perceptions are a thing of the past. After commenting on the similarities between a gay and straight woman in terms of desires, she then points out that straight guys love to run home, feel the cuddling warmth of a woman and gossip (“that’s very gay”).
“The Planet Is Burning” avoids running too long, clocking in at an hour. Glazer’s charm onstage is in turning her routine into something that has the feeling of everyday conversation. She analyzes the difference in shaving for men when it comes to their faces and women for their legs, she describes with a mischievous glee her boyfriend helping her put on a diva cup. Never does Glazer dabble in being particularly insulting, her jokes have the spirit of what people talk about in private when it comes to daily life and bodily functions. She loves lighting incense in her home and throwing out dust bunnies, enjoying the feel of domesticity. But she does find a way to then swerve into more serious, socially conscious territory.
When discussing modern America, which almost no comedian can avoid these days, Glazer discusses being a Jewish woman feeling as if the Nazis are returning, warning that the modern-day fascist has loose slogans, “they don’t even have a look, they have that red hat but you really just look like a bunch of golfers who’ve been sitting in the sun for too long.” Per Glazer, at least the old Nazis had a more villainous style, a bit which leads into a hilarious reflection on Hugo Boss’s role in dressing the Third Reich. She also comments on #MeToo, acknowledging the women who worked hard in previous generations to make present developments possible. But get a load of her riff on casting couch culture, it’s both unsettling but funny. She also ponders, “If Hollywood is so progressive why is Mel Gibson still here?”
On her own, without “Broad City” co-star Abbi Jacobson, Glazer reveals herself to be a standup comic who immediately feels a comfortable link with her audience. She’s not here to make anyone angry or make you uncomfortable, but to talk shop about life as a hassle both enjoyable and stressful. “The Planet IUs Burning” is enjoyable for what Glazer has to say and how she says it.
“Ilana Glazer: The Planet Is Burning” begins streaming Jan. 3 on Amazon.