Published Apr 12, 2016At age 31, Nikki Glaser taped Perfect while still coming to terms with being a full-grown woman and dealing with/fending off all of the external biological expectations that entails. Marriage, motherhood, birth surrogates, watching porn for tips — it's all swimming around in the same pool in her mind, co-existing in a way that's surreal but compelling.
Glaser tends to make astute critiques about womanhood by either playing up her own complicity in perpetuating questionable stereotypes, or by highlighting double standards that really make no sense. She takes on an exaggeratedly selfish tone in explaining why she might be averse to having and raising children, suggesting at one point that teenagers should be encouraged to give birth, because you have a lot more free time on your hands as a kid than you do an upwardly mobile adult. Mortifying, but then also, makes sense, right?
She tries to wrap her head around surrogacy and the technology that enables a couple to pass along their genetic makeup to a child without carrying it themselves. In her act, Glaser mostly wonders why more women don't take this option ("'I have Tight Pussy Syndrome,'" she says in a bit where someone reveals a bit too much about why they've employed a surrogate) when it could save their bodies from being so messed up by labour.
She also undercuts sexism in the ingenious "Maiden Name," outlining how weird it is that a marriage can lead to the erasure of one partner's identity, and that it's usually the woman's that is left behind. And she wisely suggests this phenomenon is due in no small part to institutional, top-down decision making.
"All it is is your shithead son's bank account security answer," she says of a woman's maiden name and where it's relegated after marriage. "Only time it comes up, yeah. And he has to call you because he doesn't even remember it."
In the midst of all of these salient points about our culture and where frigid social conventions seem to finally be melting, Glaser bombards us with outlandish non-sequiturs and jarring jokes within jokes ("I bet Bruno Mars writes all of his lyrics just before he comes," she exclaims during "Took Back the Night"). It's a beautifully effective balancing act of sincerity and depravity and one she executes on a few high levels.
She's able to segue from recent episodes in her life and call back to related experiences in her youth. These often involve men, as she catalogues the best and worst of the dudes she's found herself emotionally attached to. The stories and jokes on Perfect are intimate, never particularly pretty, but always heightened to be as absurd, arresting and thought-provoking as possible. (Comedy Central)