Nikki Glaser
Nikki Glaser (Photo: courtesy of HBO Max)

HBO Max’s new summer reality dating show FBoy Island places three women in a stunning Caribbean resort with two dozen equally stunning guys. Their challenge? Figure out which of the hunks vying for their affections are nice guys who really do want a relationship, and which are just d-bags out for the $100,000 they’ll get if they make it all the way to the finale.

Helping the ladies along is host Nikki Glaser, who claims that she did know at one point which guys were which—but then she forgot. “I smoke a lot of pot!” the comedian tells GRAZIA in her own defense. A self-proclaimed reality TV fan, Glaser took her role as host very seriously, while also trying to inject some knowing humor into the show’s obviously absurd set-up.

Ahead of FBoy Island’s premiere, we chatted with Glaser about what makes a guy an fboy, getting invested in the relationships on the show and getting deceived by some of the supposed nice guys.

Which of these guys do you think is going to come out in five years?

[Laughs] I! Have! My! Guesses! Where should I start? No, you know, sexuality is a spectrum, I believe. I wish more men would embrace that part of themselves and not shame it so that we could not have to deal with the anger that they’re suppressing because they can’t tell their father who they really are! Or that they’re also attracted to men as much as women. Who cares? So, I think in the future of FBoy Island, we may be able to unpack that kind of stuff a little more. But it would be almost statistically impossible for one of 24 men who claim to be straight—for one of them to not also maybe lean a little bit more the other way. I love a bi guy!

Well, for what it’s worth, I had the same feeling watching your show that I do every year after gay Pride. Like, Maybe I should learn what my lats are

[Laughs] You know, ultimately my greatest wish is to be able to make those same jokes on the show. To be able to inject that comedic perspective of what we’re really seeing, that no one else is saying. But I have to earn it, and I think that this season I really attempted to inject truth and what we’re all thinking when we’re watching this stuff on our couch.

Yeah, I read that your priority was making the show a comedy.

I didn’t want to go too hard, comedically. I know that I’m funny when I just talk anyway. At first, I’ll be honest with you, I was actually very worried, because I didn’t really trust that I’m cut out to host a show like this. So, [I thought], let me just come in really hard with punchlines, like I was walking into a roast. But as I got more comfortable with my role and with just knowing what is expected of me—no one wanted that. I pulled back as the show went on because I realized, No one’s watching the show for [me]! I eventually was like, I don’t wanna be cynical, because I actually had emotions invested in the relationships I watched form. So, my tone changed throughout. Still trying always to be funny. Sometimes I just put my comedy hat away and tried to be compassionate.

Contestants CJ Franco, Sarah Emig, Nakia Renee with Nikki Glaser
Contestants CJ Franco, Sarah Emig and Nakia Renee with Nikki Glaser (Photo: Cortez Vernon/HBO Max)

Ok, so what can you tell me about the relationships on the show and your own investment in them?

I got deceived by men on the show who I thought were one way and it turned out they weren’t. I had, at one point, known who was a nice guy and who was an fboy, early on in the process. And I forgot it all. And I got deceived. I gave advice based on the fact that I thought [a guy] was a nice guy, so I told [one of the women] to trust him. I talked to these girls and gave them advice, so I felt betrayed at times. And one time there was a loving moment that I witnessed and I got goosebumps! I was so moved by what was happening. The relationships were real!

I feel like people have this impression of reality show producers stirring up trouble behind the scenes. Was there part of you that kinda wanted to do that instead?

Oh yeah. Well, I’m really good at getting people to open up and feel comfortable enough to go places that they wouldn’t normally go. Because I genuinely make them feel safe. It’s always been a skill of mine, so I feel like I’d be really good at it. I know, though, that sometimes the most entertaining thing is not the good thing to encourage. So, I don’t know that I’d want to do it. If I was being told by someone to make the show as entertaining as possible, I might use those powers for evil! Not intentionally, but you know! I don’t think I could do it morally—not because [reality show producers] are bad people, but because your goal is to make an interesting show. I will say that FBoy Island was a cruelty free environment from what I witnessed. I don’t think I would align myself with a show that wasn’t.

How hard was it for you to train yourself not say “f*ck boy” all the time?

I know! First, when “fboy” was the name we landed on, I was like, Come on! But it was a struggle to even get “fboy.” HBO was really cool—and I’ve been saying this a lot and it sounds like I’m just kissing their ass, because I probably am because I would like to work with them. But I thought it was almost negligent how much they let us do whatever we wanted.

So, the first day saying “fboy,” I was like, People are going to make so much fun of us! It just sounds so dorky. And then, for some reason, it just started sounding right. One episode in, you’re like, Ok, fboy is a real thing. And now it’s going to be a part of the lexicon. I don’t even say f*ck boy anymore! It was interesting to see how quickly I could adapt.

The men of <i>FBoy Island</i>
The men of FBoy Island (Photo: Cortez Vernon/HBO Max)

Ok, so what’s a good working definition of an fboy?

An fboy is someone who, in their pursuit of power, money, sex, love, will deceive, like and manipulate someone, and not care about their feelings. Withing the fboy umbrella, there are guys who purposefully deceive, there are guys who are honest about the fact that they don’t want a commitment, and then there are guys that deceive and don’t realize it.

Yeah, are we supposed to buy the fact that all the self-described “nice guys” are actually nice guys?

No! I mean, I don’t think so. I think maybe that was not the intention of the show at first. We take their word for it. But like…have you guys never dealt with an fboy before? Of course they’re gonna say that! This guy might have realized that it’s easier for him to get on this TV show that’s gonna get him a ton of [social media] followers and a ton of p*ssy [if he claims to want a relationship]. I saw the potential for that immediately. However, I think they did a really good job of choosing guys that actually are good guys. But everyone’s capable of these fboy behaviors—I think unknowingly. And that’s why I think the guys who are doing it unintentionally are way more receptive to redemption and change.