For years, New York writer Jon Glaser was a staple in the comedy world behind the scenes. He's made America laugh through his hit characters on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" (NBC 1993 -2009) for five years and racked up five Emmy nominations in the process. In addition to his impressive writing career, Glaser also gained a following through playing memorable guest spots as Leslie's rival Councilman Jamm on "Parks & Recreation" (NBC 2009- ) and Hannah's ex-junkie neighbor, Laird, in "Girls" (HBO 2012-). When the opportunity for greater fame came with a starring role in his show, "Delocated" (Adult Swim 2008-2013), Glaser stuck with anonymity and chose to disguise himself playing a man in the Witness Protection Program - all in the service of comedy.
Jonathan "Jon" Glaser was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 20, 1968 and raised in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan. At the age of 8, his parents divorced and both remarried during his adolescence. The former high school jock made the shift from sports to comedy after quitting baseball to try out for a high school play. After watching a performance by the Second City touring company in high school, his love for performing off the field grew from there and he would later end up joining the very company he was inspired by.
Upon graduating, Glaser attended University of Michigan to earn a general degree in Communications. He was unsure of what field of entertainment to enter, but figured if the comedy thing didn't work out, he could maybe become a sportscaster. During school, Glaser tried a bit of stand-up but preferred performing sketches. He joined a college sketch comedy troupe and took a year off from school to tour different universities with the group. During his senior year, he took the train to Chicago to audition for Second City. While he didn't get the part, he made an impression and started taking classes after graduation until the touring company hired him.
During his tenure at Second City in the mid-nineties, Glaser perfected his sketch skills, performing alongside future comedy stars including "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975-) head writer Adam McKay, cast member Rachel Dratch and "Mr. Show" (HBO 1995-1998) and "30 Rock" (NBC 2006-2013) cast member Scott Adsit. After joining the main stage cast, Glaser even served as an understudy to Stephen Colbert, an indication of future success to come. After Chicago, Glaser went though a time-honored comedic rite of passage - he auditioned for SNL in 1995. His failure to make the cut ended up being a blessing in disguise, when Glaser caught the eye of SNL writer Robert Smigel, who ended up hiring him to write for "The Dana Carvey Show" (ABC 1996) alongside Louis C.K. The experimental nature of the short-lived sketch show was the perfect vehicle for Glaser to flex his writing muscles and make lifelong career connections in the process. After Carvey's show was cancelled, Glaser went on to write for "The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show" (UPN 1997-98) before joining the writing staff at "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (NBC 1993-2008) where he would remain from 1998 to 2003. Fortunately, Glaser also got to demonstrate his on-screen talents during his five-year tenure at Conan, developing a cult following from his bit characters like Wrist Hulk, Dave 'Tiny Hands' Gordon and Kim The Impressionist In the Witness Protection Program - which later served as inspiration for his comedy series "Delocated."
After leaving Conan, Glaser shifted gears and worked in animation, writing for "Wonder Showzen" (MTV2 2005-06), an absurdist twist on children's television and the comedy series "Freak Show" (Comedy Central 2006) where he worked alongside his longtime collaborator Jon Benjamin. While writing was clearly his forte, Glaser still wanted to perform. He frequently performed improvised sketches with his partner Benjamin in comedy clubs around New York and returned to live-action TV, writing and performing in the ESPN spoof-sports show, "Cheap Seats" (ESPN Classic 2004-06) hosted by the future podcasting stars, Randy and Jason Sklar. Soon after, he returned to his love of short-form sketch and joined the MTV comedy series "Human Giant" (MTV 2007-08) as a writer and performer. The series stood out as one of the few successful comedy series on the network and helped to launch the careers of its stars Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer.
Not one to be limited to just writing or acting, Glaser continued to juggle both worlds his entire career. He had bit parts in the films "Pootie Tang" (2001) with fellow Conan alum Louis C.K. and appeared in indie comedy "Be Kind Rewind" (2008). With a large network of colleagues and former collaborators, Glaser would continue to work on his friends' projects, writing for "Jon Benjamin Has a Van" (Comedy Central 2011-12) and "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time" (Comedy Central 2010-11), and appearing in guest spots for the buzzworthy shows of "Parks and Recreation" and "Girls." A veteran of Comedy Central and Adult Swim, it was only fitting that when the time came for him to star in his own series, it would be primed for late-night comedy. His character from his early days as Conan grew into a full fleshed out series and "Delocated" was a runway hit. The faux-reality show about a family in the witness protection program required that Glaser don a ski mask and a voice modulator during the run of the series. Throughout the course of three seasons, the series evolved into an absurd premise to a fully formed comedic drama. Even when Glaser was playing the ultimate jerk, there's still an innate likability that showed through where one could see how much he relished the role. After the show wrapped, Glaser took time off to spend with his wife, son and newly adopted daughter. Having poured his energies into the show, Glaser returned to the stage, performing live sketches and to recharge his creative juices. A staunch New Yorker, Glaser showed no interest in pursuing Hollywood and continued to entrench himself in the growing comedy scene.