Saving America 

Comedian Todd Glass' social stances

Prick a comedian and, not far under the surface, you may find the vestiges of a difficult upbringing, a tragic life-altering event or a crippling fear of intimacy; you'll find a damaged human being. Couple that with a skewed, humorous view of the world, and you have a person who exorcises his or her demons against the backdrop of a two-drink minimum. But it turns out the scratch test doesn't always come out positive, or negative depending on how you look at it. Forty-two-year-old, comedian Todd Glass is a prime example of how a normal guy can be funny.

In the stand-up business 25 years, the Philadelphia-born Glass believes comedy should never be moronic, but it doesn't necessarily have to hit an audience like a missile either. He employs elements from both extremes, but thinks the message, if there is one, doesn't have to be preachy.

"Humor's a great way to change people's opinions, but you don't have to shit on their beliefs," Glass said. With a new Comedy Central CD out, an upcoming Comedy Central special and a full tour schedule, Glass, like any comedian worth his or her salt, is always working toward building a bigger following. And a TV series is a lightning fast way to do that.

"If you play a club and one percent of the people like you, that might be one person. But if 1 percent of a TV audience likes you, that could be 1 million people," Glass said. So two years ago, Glass "starred" in a pilot for TBS produced by Adam Sandler's company, Happy Madison, titled Todd's Coma. The premise of the show was that while Glass lay dormant in a coma, his family would interview the famous people—such as Ben Stiller, Fred Willard, Ray Romano and Gene Simmons—who came to visit him. The show didn't get picked up, so Glass switched tactics and is working on an idea for a new show. As opposed to a scripted series, his new program Todd Glass Saves America is more Daily Show than Days of Our Lives.

"It's a take on issues [in the way] Dr. Phil or Oprah would," Glass said. "It's why people watch Jon Stewart to get the news. I want to do that for social issues."

On his Web site, the new show is described as "where your personality flaw meets society is where Todd Glass steps in and rights wrongs and opens your eyes a little. In the process he leaves America a little friendlier, more peaceful and a little bit wiser."

Check out Glass' funny, insightful, revealing podcast with comedians Jimmy Dore and Stefane Zamorano titled Comedy and Everything Else at toddglass.com and then catch him live at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday.

Friday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m., with local Ryan Noack opening, $17.50. Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., 208-387-1273.

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