Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are Broad City. Based on their own web series, the new Comedy Central comedy stars Jacobson and Glazer as Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler. Abbi wants to be an illustrator and Ilana a stand-up comic, but their day jobs and the city of New York stand in the way.
Jacobson and Glazer still live in New York and produce the show there, so I got them on the phone as they walked the streets of New York. In the first three episodes of Broad City we’ve seen them clean a house in their underwear, dogsit a dog they called Judith Light, and try to finish watching Damages among other comic hijinks. Find out what else is in store for Broad City and add it to your Fan TV WatchList.
Fan Voice: Ilana, was your too short tank top designed especially for the show or something you found?
Ilana Glazer: They were definitely tailored for the show. They were made crop tops for the show.
Fan Voice: Have you ever had Skype sex in real life?
Ilana Glazer: Not with each other, no.
Abbi Jacobson: I have no, so that part didn’t come from me.
“30 bucks I’ll clean your whole place and as long as I get to keep clothed.” – Ilana Glazer
Ilana Glazer: Certain things like we used to Facetime at times to make the web series happen. Abbi lived in Astoria and I lived in the South Slope/Sunset Park area. I was using the video chat camera to squeeze something on my back, and I thought, “This could be a regular thing.” She’s having to look at it, like not even realizing it was gross I guess.
Fan Voice: So you just took that one step further?
Ilana Glazer: One or five steps.
Fan Voice: Have you, Ilana, or both of you had experience with sketchy companies delaying your paychecks?
Abbi Jacobson: Not in the same way but we both did work at a company very similar to Deals Deals Deals which is where Ilana works on the show. So that’s where that came from. We both worked next to each other actually at a company like that.
Fan Voice: I certainly know the feeling when people keep stringing you along, talking about the money they’ll pay you in the future.
Ilana Glazer: Especially in our industry, payment can be so delayed, but at that moment is a general thing in any industry, any company where you’re not paid immediately, you’re like, “All right, I’m out of here. I’m not going to put myself into this until I know that I’m being paid.”
Fan Voice: Nor should you. Jobs are supposed to pay you. If there’s a catch, that’s not a job.
Ilana Glazer: It’s not like for life experience or something. On the show it’s selling deals for life experience.
Fan Voice: How much did the office supplies you stole weigh you down?
Ilana Glazer: You know, it was pretty bulky. We wanted to really do it and take the whole thing, not just one or two items and make it look like it was the whole thing. It was a bulky pursuit. It was about five pounds.
Fan Voice: How much would it cost to have both of you vacuum my place?
Ilana Glazer: I mean, in the same capacity?
Fan Voice: I think I’m just looking for cleaning.
Ilana Glazer: Oh, just real cleaning? 60 bucks.
Fan Voice: 60?
“We were just trying to make the best web series we could, so I think we’re taking it day by day.” – Abbi Jacobson
Ilana Glazer: Well, you know, I’ll do it for 30. If it’s regular cleaning, 30 bucks. 30 bucks I’ll clean your whole place and as long as I get to keep clothed, I’m pretty much only enjoying myself.
Fan Voice: Abbi, did you ever get to finish Damages?
Abbi Jacobson: I did. You know I did. That’s a great show. Once you start, you’ve got to finish that.
Fan Voice: Was drop kicking a rotisserie chicken something you always dreamed of doing?
Abbi Jacobson: No, it wasn’t because it’s an animal and I was very conscious of that, but I got to say it was very fun. I used to play soccer and my punting skills were put to use in that episode.
Ilana Glazer: You can seriously tell that you used to play soccer.
Fan Voice: How many takes did you do?
Abbi Jacobson: I did three takes and we ended up using I think my first take.
Fan Voice: Three different chickens or did someone go retrieve it each time?
Abbi Jacobson: I think it was three different chickens, unfortunately.
Fan Voice: Speaking of animals, did you already have Judith Light in the script, or did that come when you found that big dog?
Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, we wrote that around that type of dog. We had seen that type of dog somewhere, in a photo or in real life, and someone in our writers room said, “That looks exactly like Judith Light” and so we wrote part of that script completely around that dog and Judith Light.
Ilana Glazer: We had Paulilu, Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello, the writing team in our writers room. I think I had been out to lunch with them in L.A. and this dog looked like Judith Light but with curly hair. You know, Judith Light changes her look a bit. We had been hoping to wedge that in for a while.
Fan Voice: Can we assure our readers that the dog is okay?
Ilana Glazer: For sure you can. The dog eats gourmet steaks. This dog is doing really, really well.
Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, the dog is doing a lot better than all of us are doing.
Fan Voice: You have some great physical comedy like rolling around on the floor. Do you have physical training or is that just going with it?
Abbi Jacobson: We both came up at the Upright Citizens Brigade which is the improv sketch theater here in New York. I think that just teaches you to commit and to say yes. Those scenes that you’re talking about were scripted but then we go with it when we get there even harder than I think we expected. Those are the most fun scenes to shoot so why not go big or go home?
Fan Voice: I’m three episodes in. What other crazy stuff is coming up?
Ilana Glazer: You’re going to see Abbi’s illustration career blow up. You’re just going to see what being a struggling artist looks like via the character Abbi Abrams. You’ll see the girls try to get out of the city using all modes of transportation. You can look forward to an episode where the girls and secondary characters get some cabin fever.
Fan Voice: Has making a TV show been everything you both dreamed?
Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, I don’t think that we ever could have imagined that this would happen. It’s not what we originally set out to do. I think we were just trying to make the best web series we could, so I think we’re taking it day by day and just really trying to be present and enjoy it and make the best show that we can. We get to work with our friends, some of the most talented people in the industry and I think we both feel really lucky and excited every day.
Fan Voice: What were some of the classic TV comedies that influenced you?
Ilana Glazer: Growing up, when I was younger, really young I used to watch old shows like I Love Lucy. I guess The Cosby Show was rerunning when I was a kid. I watched Bewitched and Gilligan’s Island and I got into SNL, The Wayans Bros. I was really into. I remember going, “I think they’re really brothers!” That was so impressive. Fresh Prince I loved. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, always Seinfeld, Friends.
Abbi Jacobson: I think Roseanne was the biggest one for me. I loved that show and still do. Cosby Show was big. I was really into SNL. In Living Color I loved. Then at the same time I watched Cheers and Frasier. I was into those kinds of sitcoms. I think all those things hold up which is so cool.
Fan Voice: There’s always a cliche in New York movies and TV shows where they say the city is another character. Do you actually feel like New York is its own character in Broad City?
Ilana Glazer: For sure. New York inspires a lot of our storylines and we’ll start our plot there even.
Fan Voice: There’ve been so many TV shows and movies about New York. What do a lot of them get wrong?
Abbi Jacobson: I don’t know if they necessarily get it wrong. There’s just different points of view. I definitely prefer if a show is supposed to be set in New York that it’s actually shot in New York. I think that can only add to it. If it’s an in studio show, I understand how impossible that is, but I think shooting on location is something that is just so cool. It’s cool for people that live in New York, it’s cool for people who don’t. I’m sorry, I’m outside in New York and a truck pulled up on the sidewalk in front of me. Yeah, I think it just adds so much. We’re talking about the cliche of rom-coms with the character being New York. I talk about Nora Ephron a lot in that I read somewhere that when she shot here, she really paid attention to detail like going from one place to another, she would really try and go the way that you would go. I think that’s cool wherever you’re shooting. It’s either a really relatable experience or a real experience.
Fan Voice: Is vajazzling a real thing?
Ilana Glazer: Oh my gosh, so this place that Abbi and I used to work at taught us that vajazzling is indeed a real thing that we used to avoid selling as deals, but it is a very real, very bizarre thing.
Fan Voice: See how much I’m learning from Broad City?
Ilana Glazer: Yeah, it’s so strange. I guess it’s supposed to be sexy but when you see it’s really, really non sexual. It’s bizarre and alien and doesn’t seem like something that would aid hooking up.