Jon Glaser is the new Bear Grylls, only we like Glaser better.
They both have shimmering chestnut hair, host TV shows about outdoor recreation, and are obsessed with gear. Grylls might have better survival skills and a swoon-worthy accent but Glaser is just like us: an average dude obsessed with cool stuff.
It’s beside the point that Glaser is also a ridiculously talented comedian and writer on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Adult Swim’s Delocated, Girls on HBO, and NBC’s Parks and Recreation. (You just got jammed!)
The premise of Glaser’s truTV mockumentary, Jon Glaser Loves Gear, is to spoof gear-obsessed novices who believe they need the performance power of a $700 Arc’teryx shell for their bike commute to work. (That’s us.) Jokes aside, he also shares his personal passion for the world of recreation apparel and tools. Indeed, gear has become outlandish, and deep down we know only someone like a bear hunter would need most of it, but we’re not-so-secretly obsessed with specs, GORE, YKK zippers, and RDS maps that track the birthplace of our goose down.
The Manual sat down with Glaser to talk about, duh, gear and the hilarity to come in season two of Jon Glaser Loves Gear, which premieres January 9, 2019, on truTV.
The Manual: Would you consider yourself a gear junkie?
Jon Glaser: For sure The show is very much grounded in truth, from the fact that I genuinely love gear to many of the episode’s storylines.
TM: How’d you get the idea for your show? Usually, we think of hyper-skilled outdoors people hosting gear shows in the wild, but this is different. And we dig it.
JG: So you’re saying I’m not a hyper-skilled outdoors person? How dare you.
It was a very loose idea that was way more reality-based when I first thought of it, with comedy as a secondary component. I wasn’t even sure I’d pitch it to comedy networks. I thought it’d be fun to go to different companies and get to test out different types of gear, but it evolved from pitch to pilot to series into a predominantly scripted comedy show that has reality elements. I usually describe the show as a fake reality show about a guy who loves gear, where each episode’s topic quickly goes off the rails.
TM: What can we look forward to in season two?
JG: More of the same type of stupidity that you saw in season one. There are some new characters this season, including a network exec, another sidekick, and a love interest for Gear-i. And Christine Taylor appears in an episode.
TM: What’s the craziest, most expensive piece of gear you’ve ever bought?
JG: When I quit writing at Conan, I bought a $3,300 titanium road bike as a present to myself. I was single, without kids, and could afford such a luxury item. It was well worth it; such a fun bike to ride.
TM: Highly technical gear is fun but what’s the simplest piece of gear you love and genuinely use?
JG: An Audubon bird call. I love it, mostly because of its simple design, while at the same time being highly effective and fun.
TM: What is the coolest gear tech you’ve seen in the past year?
JG: I went to a gear expo in Denver this past fall to do some promo for the show and really liked these snowboard goggles by Red Bull. They’re magnetic, allowing you to easily change lenses on the fly. A simple idea, but I thought it was very cool.
TM: Did you splurge on anything this holiday season?
JG: No, I didn’t really need anything, but like I said in Season 1, the show isn’t called Jon Glaser Needs Gear, it’s called Jon Glaser Loves Gear.
TM: You’re going into the wild and can bring five pieces of gear. What do you bring?
JG: I asked Steve Cirbus, who plays my ‘Spurt in the show and in real life is the hyper-skilled outdoorsman/survivalist host you had in mind. His answer: Knife, farro rod, bow, water purifier, extra wool socks.