Broad City's Abbi and Ilana on Being Back and Better Than Ever: Season 3 Was When We Thought, Let's Own This
At long last, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, cocreators, showrunners, and stars of Comedy Central’s Broad City are back. Well, to be honest, they haven’t been gone since last year’s season-two finale. The two have been hard at work writing scripts for season three (which I consulted on!), guest starring on Lucas Bros. Moving Company and Inside Amy Schumer, cohosting the 2015 IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards, and getting a season four and five renewal of their show. Solo, they’re also getting things done: Abbi is starring in the upcoming movie Human People, while Ilana is currently shooting a limited series for Comedy Central titled Time Traveling Bong. Whew! These ladies have been busy! But today? Today, they get to take a momentary breather as season three of Broad City premieres tonight at 10 P.M. ET. If you haven’t already, check out the hilarious trailer for this upcoming season:
Ahead of tonight’s premiere, we wanted to talk to Abbi and Ilana about Broad City‘s massive success and the impact the show has had. From its roots as a cult favorite web series to a hit show and critical darling, the series has also become important in the changing landscape for women and television, thanks to its depiction of a loving, ride-till-we-die female friendship. So, we jumped on the phone with them to chat about what’s in store for season three, what it was like working with Hillary Clinton, and so much more. Read on.
Glamour: First of all, congratulations on getting picked up for season four and season five. So amazing. How did you celebrate after you found out? Or did you immediately start working on the next two seasons?
Abbi Jacobson: [Laughs] We haven’t yet. We’re still working on and editing season three.
Ilana Glazer: We feel so guilty. I know we have schedule a dope dinner and thank you for reminding us to do that.
Glamour: That’s what I’m here for. I schedule interviews to remind you to eat.
Jacobson and Glazer: [Laugh]
Glamour: So, let’s talk about season three. The scripts are so, so good. Everyone’s in store to have a great time. Can you give readers a sneak peek as to what to expect this season?
Jacobson: I think, and I’m sure you would agree with this, but I think the show gets a little bit deeper with the characters. We usually don’t have these arcs in the season—and not that you necessarily need to watch all the episodes in order—but this season, in particular, watching the episodes in order really adds to the viewing experience. There are more intense arcs with the characters.
Glazer: It’s more cumulative than seasons past. Get ready for this one: We’ve expanded our emotional palate.
Jacobson: Wow! Ilana dropping that vocab.
Glamour: You must have been watching a lot of Top Chef recently. Palate is a big word on that show.
Glazer: [Laughs] I only watch MasterChef Junior, baby!
Glamour: I LOVE that show.
Jacobson: Also, let the readers know we’re going to bring out some amuse-bouches halfway through the season to cleanse that palate.
Glamour: Well, there are plenty of things no one knows about season three yet—so let’s talk about the one thing they all know: Hillary Clinton is guest starring! What was it like working with her?
Jacobson: It was so crazy. Doing the show for the past couple of years, we’ve had some famous people on, and we’ve gotten opportunities to meet some really famous celebrity types. But this was different. She’s so iconic. She’s such a rare person. To have her on the show, doing these scenes with us, was very surreal.
Glazer: The scene is about the girls reacting to seeing her, and we were not acting. We were straight tripping. It was really fun. She was so warm, and I feel as though I learned from being around her. She’s clearly a badass.
Glamour: How would you rate her as an actress?
Jacobson: Well, she’s not really an actress. She’s not doing what Kelly Ripa did and playing a heightened version of herself. She was just being herself. If she turned out to be a really phenomenal actress, it would’ve been so bizarre.
Glazer: It would have been like, “What? You can do this, too?” She was herself and killed it.
Glamour: Y’all are killing it, too. When you first started, you had a showrunner guiding you, but at the start of season two, you started running things yourselves. How was that transition?
Glazer: It was interesting. Just looking back at everything, I totally understand why Comedy Central wanted to pair us with a showrunner, who was Tami Sagher. [She is] a hilarious writer, but at the end of the day, this is the kind of show where the creators should be running it, so it was a little weird. But we needed to have that first season where we learned how everything worked—and acquiring skills to be able to do this on our own was very valuable. It allowed us to become showrunners, and I don’t think that would have happened if we didn’t have the opportunity to learn.
Glamour: Since we’re taking a little trip down memory lane, I want to go back even further to when the show was a web series. A few years ago, fellow Glamour writer Megan Angelo said you guys were doing “sneak attack feminism” in a story for the Wall Street Journal. [Ed Note: Megan’s always had a good eye for talent! Read her past articles here.] I’ve known you both since you started doing the web series. For me, it always felt like you were pretty upfront about your feminism. Do you agree with that or do you think you’ve grown into your feminism?
Jacobson: I mean, that was crazy that Megan was writing about our web episodes. We met for breakfast in Dumbo when we were working at Lifebooker.
Glazer: Oh, that’s right! It was before we had to do the job that Ilana Wexler does on Broad City at Deals, Deals, Deals. Everyone has ripped that quote from her. Part of it I like because, “Sneak attack. Yeah!” But…I don’t have to sneak being a feminist. I think as the show and the platform has grown, it has become increasingly important to define what we do.
Glamour: Because you guys are feminists and because we are in the middle of a comedy duo boon, do you think ever think about your impact? A lot of people look to you as symbols of both categories.
Jacobson: I don’t know. That’s a cool conversation, but there have been duos before us, so it’s just really nice to be included. It really does feel like the comedy landscape is changing right now, which is exciting. We’re happy to be a part of that change.
Glamour: Your show obviously resonates with a lot of people—critics, audiences, fellow comedians. What do you think it is about Broad City that folks can so easily identify with?
Jacobson: Whenever I see comedy I’m into, it’s usually me having a gut reaction like, “Oh, that is so that person and that is so that person’s voice.” You know? They’re just speaking from their own experience, and because they’re so specific, they end up being more relatable. I think that’s what people are noticing in the show. What we do is very specific to us, our writers, and everyone who works on the show. I think comedy right now is all about specificity.
Glazer: Also, there’s a messiness of the show. And we don’t look like the average people on TV. We’re not tall and skinny and bony and shit. We’re just normal looking and cute, and I like seeing real people on TV and in movies. I feel like other people like that, too.
Glamour: OK, let’s come back to season three. What was the most exciting part about doing this new season and how do you feel like it’s been different than the two previous ones?
Glazer: This season, the writing has been the hardest part. The hardest it’s ever been.
Glamour: Why do you think that is?
Glazer: We’ve been calling writing season three the “Wednesday” of the series, you know? It’s very much our adolescence and growing into a mature series. But then shooting? It’s the best it has ever been. It was so much fun, and it was so great to not be stressing as much and to be playing more. We laughed more than ever.
Jacobson: Ilana and I, up until this season, have kind of been…there had been no break between seasons one and season two. The seasons were so close to each other that it was almost continuous. I think that’s partially why writing the third one was the hardest because we had this break. We had time to process, but season three was when we thought, “Oh my God. We might get to do more of these. We’re going to get more seasons. Let’s own this.” We took more ownership of what we were doing, which allowed us to allow ourselves to have fun when were shooting. We always had fun shooting, but we were also very nervous before.
Glamour: So tonight is the big premiere. Do you have plans? Are you going to watch it live together?
Glazer: I’m going to be shooting Time Traveling Bong in Massachusetts, so I’ll just be watching from my hotel.
Jacobson: That’s the only thing about Ilana doing Time Traveling Bong that I’m upset about—because we have never not watched it together.
Be sure to watch the season premiere of Broad City tonight (and every Wednesday!) at 10 P.M. ET.
Watch Ilana and Abbi Talk Getting Star-Struck:
Photos: Comedy Central