Glass made headlines in January when, after more than 20 years in standup comedy, he came out, citing the the recent gay teen suicides as motivating his decision.
“Truly what made me do it is that I knew it was good for my soul and who I was,” he said. “But that wasn’t enough to get me to do it, unfortunately. It was just with kids killing themselves I just thought, I have to do it. I can’t sit back. It just gives credence to the idea that it’s worth hiding. I would just keep watching these YouTube clips and go ‘OK I’m doing it.’ Then the day passes and it gets out of your head. I knew the many reasons that were good, but that was the reason that made me do it.”
Glass said one of the reasons he wasn’t open about his orientation early on was because he didn’t want it to stymie his career.
“That was one of my big concerns, that it would affect my career,” he said. “But as time went on, not as much. A few really close comedian friends, I would make jokes with them: If my career ends, would you financially support me for the rest of my life? They would tell me, ‘It’s not going to hurt you.’ I was always a little scared about that.”
Glass added that he wasn’t concerned about how his peers would react to his sexual orientation, but he was concerned about other people he’d encounter as a standup comic.
“I know my circle of friends, and most good comedians could give a shit,” he said. “That’s how you got to be a good comedian. You’re creatively free and part of that is not judging other people. Most great comedians in history don’t care. But it was more about the audiences. You’re naked up there. All I’ve got to do is get mad at an audience member and someone in the back yells ‘fag!’ That was one of the main things when I was ready to do it. In other words, if you’re an actor, you still deal with it but not on stage in front of people who all aren’t coming to see you.”
Despite coming out, Glass said he doesn’t expect his act to change overnight.
“Even leading up to this, I didn’t stop saying ‘girlfriend’ in my act,” he said. “I tried, but saying ‘girlfriend’ makes it generic. It won’t change overnight but I’m sure in time it will. And when I talk about it, it won’t be like the generic jokes that every bad gay comic has done, the jokes that have been out there for 100 years. I remember one time I saw a gay comedian on stage and he was doing the old bullshit generic gay jokes and a comedian I was with lovingly said, ‘You know, I bet if he told his real story it would be so fucking interesting.’ And I thought, yeah, I hope I bring that to it when I am ready. It’s like people that talk about their kids on stage. Some people do the old kid jokes but then when Louis C.K. comes along he talks about his kids in a way that no one has ever talked about kids before — from an interesting perspective. Twisted or not, it’s different.”
Glass performs March 21-24 at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. For more information or tickets, visit www.toddglass.com or call 215-496-9001.