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Comedian Ilana Glazer performs stand up, talks comedy, identity, and success with Jordan Salama ’19

<p>Jordan Salama joined Ilana Glazer on stage in Richardson Auditorium on Wednesday night.</p>
<h6>Courtesy of the Office of Dean of Undergraduate Studies</h6>

Jordan Salama joined Ilana Glazer on stage in Richardson Auditorium on Wednesday night.

Courtesy of the Office of Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Comedian Ilana Glazer addressed the Princeton community on Wednesday night, taking the stage in Richardson Auditorium to perform an original stand-up set. The show was followed by a conversation with Pre-Read author Jordan Salama ’19 about succeeding in comedy, creative processes and growth, and incorporating identity as a queer, Jewish woman in her work.

Glazer is best known for her work on “Broad City,” a Comedy Central series co-written with and co-starring fellow comedian Abbi Jacobson. Recently, Glazer worked as a producer for the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, “A Strange Loop,” and she released her debut stand-up special on Amazon Prime in 2020.

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The Center for Jewish Life (CJL) and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) co-sponsored the show, but the original idea for the event traces back to student leadership. Abigail Goldberg-Zelizer ’24, education chair for the CJL, had the idea to bring Glazer to campus this past summer. 

“It kind of popped into my head that I should invite her to come speak at the CJL. But then quickly, things got much bigger than the CJL, because of just the nature of how famous she was, and so ODUS wanted to get involved,” Goldberg-Zelizer said.

Goldberg-Zelizer worked alongside Amichai Feit ’23, president of the CJL Student Board, to develop the program. When they brought the idea to representatives from ODUS, they proposed that the University host her in conjunction with Salama, who was heavily involved in late-night comedy while a student at Princeton. During his time as a student, Salama founded “Princeton Tonight,” an on-campus broadcast television program, and invited various comedians to speak at the University. 

In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Salama spoke about his passion for storytelling and how comedy can be a powerful tool. Salama also discussed his experience with the CJL and Jewish community at Princeton, recounting Shabbat dinners and community events.

According to Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne, this event was part of a larger effort on ODUS’ part to bring entertainers to campus not only to perform but also to speak in conversation with others. Dunne said he hopes attendees could “reflect on pop culture as a window to thought processes and creative thinking.” 

Dunne added that having Glazer in conversation with Salama could be “a gateway for students to think about who they follow and enrich their understanding of comedy.” He said he thinks her work and advice would not only resonate with students interested in performing arts and comedy, but with all Princetonians, stating that “students are all producers of content.”

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In her set, Glazer covered many topics, including motherhood, pregnancy, social pressures, family, and more. Glazer connected her stand-up to the lives of Princeton students, starting the show by referencing the importance of voting and acknowledging the leaps that voting rights have made throughout the country’s history.

“Your President … is Chris Eisgruber, right? Your vote counts as much as Chris Eisgruber! Go play the ultimate joke on the Founding Fathers,” she said during the show after encouraging the audience to vote.

Echoing the sentiments of many audience members and organizers, Salama remarked on Glazer’s ability to incorporate her Jewish identity into her comedy. 

“One of the things that I really admire about what she does is that she actually brings in her Jewishness in a way that is normal. And it’s not over the top. And it’s not seen as something that makes her different necessarily. It’s just sprinkled into everyday conversations,” Salama said.

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At several points during her set, Glazer played on this aspect of her identity. In one notable instance, a Princeton sweatshirt she had taken off after some time onstage fell off the stool next to her. Without missing a beat, Glazer picked it up and, turning to the audience, said “you know what we do now,” before proceeding to kiss the sweatshirt, in a move referential to the Jewish tradition of kissing a holy book that has fallen onto the ground. 

“I will be handing that sweatshirt down to my daughter,” she quipped afterward. 

Moments like this that highlighted Glazer’s identity made an impression on some student attendees. 

“It was great to see a queer, political Jew being queer, political, and Jewish. [Glazer] doesn’t shy away from any of that. She talks about it, she’s open about it,” Emanuelle Sippy ’25 said. “I resonated with so much of the way that she is interacting with the world.” 

Others noted Glazer’s presence while performing. Reflecting on what made the show so engaging, Luke Carroll ’26 said, “She commands the stage in a way that very few comedians are able to do.” 

In the latter portion of the show in conversation with Salama, Glazer remarked often on learning to “feel like she’s been enough” and encouraged audience members to do what they can to make their lives easier. She specifically listed saving money, finding the confidence to be oneself, and finding people who provide balance in life.

“Nourish your core, and be as aware as you can of your toolkit,” Glazer said. “Do what you can to be gentle to yourself.”

Sophie Glaser is a news and features contributor, as well as a copy editor for the ‘Prince,’ she can be reached at sglaser@princeton.edu or @SophieMGlaser on Twitter.

Abby Leibowitz is a news contributor for the ‘Prince,’ she can be reached at al6080@princeton.edu, @abigalleibow1 on twitter and @abby.leibowitz on instagram.

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