You may know him as Councilman Jeremy Jamm from the show ‘Parks and Recreation.’ In real life, Jon Glaser is a true gear aficionado, and his soon-to-launch TV show proves it.
“Jon Glaser Loves Gear” premieres on truTV Oct. 26. The premise? Think reality-show parody with gear testing.
While Glaser might not be the first person you think of as an outdoorsy “Parks and Recreation” actor (cough, Nick Offerman, cough), we learned that he’s as devoted a gear guy as any of us.
We spoke with Glaser to get a scoop on the new show, some favorite gear, and a bizarre anniversary he celebrates each year in the wilds.
‘Jon Glaser Loves Gear’ (Junkie)
GEARJUNKIE: Do you consider yourself a “gear junkie?”
JON GLASER: “Junkie” implies addiction, or some kind of problem that inhibits my life, or that I would steal from my grandmother or children to feed my habit, so the answer is yes.
What’s your favorite piece of gear ever made?
First thing that pops to mind, I think because it’s something I’ve purchased regularly over many years, is the Wigwam Thermax cap. Simple, affordable, effective, makes me look like the tough guy I’m not.
Do you prefer the latest and greatest, or classic, tried-and-true gear?
Depends on the gear and the activity, I suppose. The Wigwam hat goes more classic tried-and-true, where I found a hat I like and I stick with it because I have yet to find anything I like better.
But obviously there’s tons of new cool stuff that comes out every year that we crave. I have an Ortlieb messenger bag that I absolutely love, and have had for a few years and used on and off the bike on basically a daily basis.
But I just got a Topo backpack that I love as well. It’s a little smaller and has different features that I like. I don’t need both bags, but like I say in my new show, it’s not called Jon Glaser Needs Gear, it’s called Jon Glaser Loves Gear.
Tell us about the show? What kind of gear will you feature?
The show is a fake-reality show (mostly scripted with some reality moments) where I play an exaggerated asshole version of myself. Each episode is rooted in my genuine love of gear, but ends up going off on stupidly tangential stories. The show covers a wide variety of gear. Some of the episodes are Camping, Cycling, Baseball, and Dogs.
What’s one piece of gear that’s been improved upon, and one that was better “in the old days?”
Long underwear seems to have gotten a lot better over the years. Wool is expensive, but it’s made so well and is so comfortable, and doesn’t stink. I think it’s worth the money. Soccer cleats have obviously gotten amazing, but I loved the old screw-ins. Those were so cool and made me feel like a pro when I was a kid.
What’s your favorite outdoors sport?
Probably a tie between running and cycling.
Bikes or running shoes?
Bikes. I got a custom steel frame for my show that I got to keep, and there’s something about riding a frame that was built for you that is extremely satisfying. I’ll give a shout-out plug to Horse Cycles in Williamsburg. I also have a Litespeed Classic I bought as a going away present to myself when I quit Conan, and that bike is fun as hell to ride.
Skis or snowboards?
Never learned to ski. Learned to snowboard in my 30s and loved it immediately. Sadly, haven’t done it much lately.
What was the last gear purchase you made?
A pair of New Balance 1500v2 shoes, the black/yellow/orange ones that I think you can only get on the website. I love them.
What are the three best items we’d find in your gear closet?
Do you have any crazy camping stories?
When I was 15, I went on a camping/backpacking trip through the West. On a whitewater rafting excursion in Colorado, my counselor and I ended up in a small, two-person boat. Not sure what prompted me to not go in one of the big fun multi-person rafts.
Regardless, at every set of rapids, we were instructed to follow the guide to the left or right side of the river. Each section of rapids seemed underwhelming, so my counselor and I stupidly decided to go to the opposite side on the next set.
Massively bad move. We encountered some nasty rapids. Our boat got flipped and sucked under the waves. I was getting tossed about violently underwater and kept getting sucked back under every time I got to the surface. I thought for sure I was going to die. It was terrifying.
The good thing to come out of the trip was, being a Jewish camp, we came up with a song parody for the end of the trip talent show, to Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” called “When Jews Hike.” The chorus went, “This is what it sounds like… When Jews hike: ‘Oy, oy oy oy. Oy oy, oy oy’.”
Do you have a favorite brand, one that you just love everything they do?
Tough to nail it down to one. Levi’s, New Balance, Wigwam are some brands I consistently get.
Fill in the blank: If I have a weekend free…
I am going to play golf, only because I haven’t played in years.
If I have a month free…
I will go on a two-week beach vacation with my family and do nothing but relax and catch up on sleep. Then I would probably plan some kind of kick ass trail run out West somewhere, since I have never really done any major trail running and really want to try that.
Dream big: I have six months free to do anything in the world…
Assuming money is no object, I would plan some kind of snowboard trip somewhere in Europe, because I haven’t gone snowboarding in years, and sadly haven’t done much traveling in Europe.
I’d do another trail running trip, let’s say Alaska because I was there with Second City touring company and it was incredible and I’d love to go back.
Some kind of cycling trip in France, because it would be very cool to ride one of the mountain stages, no real preference, Alpe d’Huez is an obvious choice, but why not? Or maybe a mountain bike trip somewhere, let’s say New Zealand or Australia, I’ve never been to either place. I did a lot of mountain biking in college and haven’t done much since, unfortunately.
And then some kind of big backpacking trip out West with some friends.
Do you, Chris Pratt, and Nick Offerman ever get together and do stuff in the outdoors?
Every year, we get together and re-create me almost dying on that whitewater rafting trip. Chris plays my counselor, and Nick plays the river.
—Jon Glaser Loves Gear premieres on truTV on Wednesday, October 26th, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes.