By Kaye Foley
The tale of 20-somethings living in New York City gets really real in Comedy Central’s hit TV show Broad City. Co-creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer play exaggerated versions of themselves, navigating the waters of the often unglamorous early years of adulthood. Renewed for a third season, Broad City has captured audiences and critics alike with its observational humor, the comedic prowess of its stars and the show’s willingness to put it all out there.
Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric met up with Jacobson and Glazer in New York’s West Village for a walk through Washington Square Park and a cappuccino at Caffe Reggio to discuss the success of their show, the real-life inspirations for the story lines and what’s on the horizon for these very funny ladies.
It was meant to be. Jacobson and Glazer met while taking classes at the famed improv theater Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), in New York City. In 2009, they started their Web series Broad City.
By the end of the Web series’ second season, the two were ready to shoot for a bigger screen but wanted to finish with a bang. A UCB teacher emailed Amy Poehler, a co-founder of the theater, on behalf of the pair to see if she’d come on the Web series. Poehler, who was a big fan of Broad City already, agreed.
After Poehler’s guest appearance, Jacobson and Glazer reached out with one more big ask — would she want to be an executive producer on their TV show? She said yes once more, and the rest is history.
No matter how ridiculous or over-the-top a story line may get, like a dog wedding in Prospect Park or Abbi becoming a 1930s-style cabaret singer named “Val” whenever she gets blackout drunk, a key characteristic of Broad City is how relatable it is.
“We try to make sure to keep the seeds of stories from things we’ve experienced, things our writers have experienced, or friends,” Glazer said. “We take a lot of our friends’ stories. And people are offering them all the time … We’ll be like, ‘We are taking this, OK?’”
Jacobson and Glazer try to relay the true experience of this age, whether it’s Abbi’s job at luxury gym Soulstice, a sort of Equinox and Soul Cycle hybrid, Ilana’s job at Deals Deals Deals, an online beauty service booking site, or their characters’ relationships, from a friend with benefits to a crush on the cute neighbor.
The duo display their comedic chops not only when it comes to the writing of the show but through their talents as actresses as well. They complement each other’s skills as physical comedians.
“[Abbi’s] physical comedy is just delicious,” Glazer said. Jacobson continued, “I think we have very different physical comedy. Mine would be a weird insecure [physical comedy] where I just fall all over the place. But Ilana did gymnastics as a kid. And so she can just do a handspring up on a wall.”
Jacobson and Glazer show off a special talent of theirs — the micro-impression. (Patent pending, I’m sure.) Explaining what the heck that is, Glazer said, “Because of the way that our society’s attention span is these days, we have to keep it tight. So we do these impressions that are just the essence of a person.”
Though the buzz around Broad City is bigger than ever, Jacobson and Glazer are looking to the future as well. They’re working on projects, including a movie, together as well as doing some of their own things. “We’re really trying to keep an empire going,” Glazer said. “I mean, Broad City’s not going to last forever. But there’s the next step after that for sure.”