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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Comedian Stephen Glickman Brings Laughter During Pandemic

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At a time when comedy clubs are closed and there’s not a lot to laugh about, stand-up comic Stephen Kramer Glickman has released a hilarious album called “Voices in My Head,” recorded last August at the Ice House in Pasadena. Full of spot-on impressions (including the last four presidents plus Sen. Bernie Sanders), Jewish jokes and stories about relationships, food and weight loss struggles, it’s a much-needed pick-me-up for these long, social distancing days.

“Being able to provide some levity during this time is a wonderful feeling,” Glickman told the Journal. “We all need comedy right now.”

His self-deprecating humor covers the “terrible choices I’ve made,” telling the kind of tales that were a staple of seder table conversation in his family when he was growing up in Canada. He realized he had a flair for comedy, and impressions in particular, early on, imitating “Saturday Night Live” cast members and albums by comedy legends like George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Denis Leary, Pauly Shore and Mel Brooks. “I listened to them nonstop. I practiced doing impressions of all of them,” Glickman said.

He also performed in community theater, putting his impersonations of Topol, Bert Lahr and Paul Lynde to use in productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” While working as a doorman and doing stand-up around Los Angeles, he attended an open call and was cast in the title role in “Shrek the Musical.” Although he left the show before it opened on Broadway, “It made the biggest impact on my life and career,” he said, noting that it led to voice-over and acting opportunities, including the Nickelodeon series “Big Time Rush.”

“It doesn’t really matter to me how I’m entertaining, whether it’s through acting or stand-up or cartoons,” Glickman said. “To me, it’s all the same joy. Stand-up is probably the most exhilarating because you’re the captain of your own ship. Whether you succeed or fail, it’s up to you. But doing voice-over and cartoons is so collaborative. I’ve gotten to work with amazing people like Jennifer Aniston, Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer and [Keegan-Michael] Key and [Jordan] Peele,” all fellow voice actors in the animated film “Storks.”

Glickman also hosts a podcast called “The Night Time Show,” which he finds “a little tricky” at present. “Zoom provided us with recording equipment so we can do interviews over the phone,” he said, adding that he’ll also use the app for a virtual Passover seder with family in Montreal, Florida and San Diego.

Using the podcast as a platform, he often partners with sponsors to support organizations that are important to him. “We need to look out for our community, the Jewish community and the greater community we live in,” he said. “The world was difficult before coronavirus and it’s going to be even more difficult after. We need to help out. If you have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives and don’t do that, I think it’s irresponsible.”

Of mostly Russian Jewish heritage, Glickman was born in London, Ontario, but he has lived in Southern California since the mid-1980s, raised by a single mother since he was 13. “I’m more connected to Judaism now than when I was growing up,” he said, noting his attendance at various synagogues around Los Angeles and his involvement with Chabad.

He’d love to play Tevye again in “Fiddler on the Roof” to raise money for the Anti-Defamation League, and he looks forward to returning to the stand-up stage.

“It’s very difficult not to perform and have that interaction with people,” he said. “I’ve been calling other comedians because you miss that energy. I’m writing jokes and waiting for the day we can all get back to doing what we love to do.”

“Voices in My Head” is available via Pandora, SiriusXM, iTunes and other platforms. Visit the website to hear the podcast.

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