12 Things We Learned from ‘Broad City’ Stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s ‘OUT’ Magazine Interview
The comedic duo behind the Comedy Central show, which just began its third season on Feb. 17, sat down with OUT writer Mike Albo sometime during winter in New York.
Here are 12 things we learned from their interview:
1. They love New York. Glazer commented:
We were in L.A. for two weeks. It was so beautiful, so warm and nice. But we also just kept being, like, ‘But you miss New York, right?’
…New York doesn’t stop moving. The streets and avenues are veins, and all the people and the cars are blood pumping through it constantly, with a rhythm.
And Jacobson added:
I got into New York at midnight, but even on the drive over I was like, ‘Yeah, this is more me.’
…New York is such an active, bustling, energetic place to live that the characters have to match that in a way. I think we tend to vary the movement of the show—we’re either placed on a sofa or a bed, or we’re sprinting somewhere.
2. Broad City, which debuted in 2014, is a total game-changer, whether or not it’s “anti-Girls.“
According to a New Yorker profile that year, their manager pitched the series to networks as “Laverne and Shirley meets Louie.” But Broad City has wriggled out of that too-tight tube top of comparison and become its own thing: a totally unhinged game changer. Now shows (like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Idiotsitter) are being compared to it.
3. Before Broad City, Abbi and Ilana were aspiring performers part of improv school/comedy hub Upright Citizens Brigade, where they met in 2007.
They started creating Broad City as a web series together in 2009, and released a new episode every week. Jacobson commented, “The web completely changed the game. It’s a different world.”
4. On unapologetically representing female sexuality on television, Glazer commented:
It’s like these girls are horny but not under the male gaze. They’re horny, period. Just starting from the vagina, not starting from some man looking at them.
5. They credit Amy Poehler, executive producer of the show, for being able to be so sexually adventurous in the show.
She is the one “who gave us permission to have that agency over the sexual politics of the show,” Glazer explained. The infamous “pegging” episode, for example, went through many revisions until it was just right.
We were so back and forth. We just didn’t want the pegging to be the joke. We were so delicate about it.We just wanted to make sure it was very clear we were not, like, ‘Pegging’s crazy!’ It was more about the specificity of needing this one Etsy dildo!
6. That episode in particular (“Knockoffs,” season 2, episode 4) encouraged many straight males to have a sexual awakening. Jacobson explains:
I recently had a conversation about it with a dude I was on a date with. He was like, ‘I need to tell you that as a straight dude I had this whole come-to-Jesus moment watching your pegging episode. At first I was like, Why am I reacting negatively to this? And it made me think, and it made me realize this is some sort of thing ingrained in me for no reason, and why should I not try something like that? Like, why would I not be open to that—because it has some sort of gay connotation?’ I just sat back, and I was like, Are you trying to ask me to peg you? It was the biggest compliment.
7. Glazer’s sexuality fluidity – let alone the depiction of it on mainstream television – is incredibly refreshing. The two discuss:
Glazer:It’s a privilege that we get to be this fluid. Also, women’s sexuality—women’s queerdom—is much less threatening to the mainstream than men’s.
Jacobson:It shouldn’t be.
Glazer: But I think straight men are uncomfortable, thinking that their dicks might quiver if they’re watching a gay dude.
Jacobson: I think when people watch it, they’re like, “What’s the deal?” [with the sexual ambiguity] but it shouldn’t be a deal. It’s like, why can’t anyone hook up with whoever they want?
Glazer: When we were pitching, Amy was like, “Everyone under 30 is gay,” but this was, like, five years ago. Now I think everyone under 40 is gay or fluid—the mentality is different. It’s cool that this show is marking time.
We had decided that we didn’t necessarily need Hillary to be in the episode, so we went ahead and wrote it, and then we were like, Fuck it, let’s just ask her. We tried through various sources—one of our execs at Comedy Central had worked on her campaign, and obviously Amy Poehler has portrayed her—and she said yes, which was huge.
9. They open up about season 3, and the changes ahead in comparison to seasons 1 or 2. Jacobson commented:
There are more character arcs this season. And big changes, especially for Ilana. As we move forward, we’re going to do more of that. Because in seasons 1 and 2, we didn’t really have that. It’s interesting, as we get older, the characters age much slower than we do.
10. They describe their relationship as “love at first sight”:
Glazer: I’m not like a conventionally romantic person, but I think our experience is the most romantic I could ever be, where it’s like—
Jacobson:—love at first sight.
Glazer: Yeah, the promise of something, thinking something’s going to be there. We got married, you know what I mean? I’m like, Oh, I get it when people do it in a conventional sense. You believe that you can build something.
Jacobson: It is like that because we are now better than ever.
Glazer:And there’s a synergy—people get married and have kids. And talk about the potential of fucking kids! That’s what this show is. It’s inside two separate people at first.
Jacobson:And in each part of the process—the writing, the actual production, the acting, the editing, even in interviews—we have found our strengths and weaknesses, and often where each of our weaknesses lie, the strengths of the other come through.
Glazer: And being able to recognize a weakness is so much easier when I have this brilliant partner who I know can pick up the slack in an area I’m weak in—and that’s a strength in itself. It’s fucking fabulous.
11. The hottest people they know are their friends. Glazer explains:
We were talking about how we find our friends sexy. The hottest people to me are my friends, for sure. That’s, like, why I’m around them so much. They’re, like, the hottest, coolest people. I think it’s part of that fluidity—it’s OK to feel that way about your friends and it’s OK to have that energy also.
12. But no, their characters will never hookup with one another. They comment:
Glazer: If they hooked up, would it be for us, or for the male gaze?
Jacobson: Are people watching this, waiting for us to have a sex scene? That’s not what this is about.
Glazer: I was just reading this article in which Lena [Dunham] interviewed Gloria Steinem. There was this awesome quote where Gloria said that your old lovers become some of your closest friends. And I find that too. And I like that all that can exist in the same space: sexual, romantic, friendly feelings. That’s sexual fluidity to me.