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A Word with the Women of “Broad City”

By Michael Themistocleous
Staff Writer

The stars of the Comedy Central show, “Broad City,” spoke to The Pioneer in an interview conference call with several colleges on Feb. 20. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson created, write, and act in the TV series. The comediennes spoke of their history, the New York comedy scene, and the series itself, which airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

“Broad City” is a scripted situational comedy. The series focuses on a pair of friends that are very different from each other; Glazer living life in the moment, and Jacobson trying to get more out of life, feeling stuck and insecure where she is. Like “The Odd Couple,” the show features a goofy duo-dynamic of its characters, but instead of two divorced men, Glazer and Jacobsen portray post-college women struggling with adulthood. The comedy is built upon the awkward situations both characters find themselves in, which are elaborated on and fleshed out in the writing room of the show.

Each episode tells a new story in the daily lives of Glazer and Jacobson, playing fictionalized versions of themselves as struggling women in their 20s, living in New York City. “The stories are all based on [things] that have happened to us, friends, or coworkers,” said Glazer. Jacobson was quick to point out that much of the show is exaggerated, but with a sense of “heightened realism.”

“Broad City” is based on a web-series that Glazer and Jacobson co-created. This transition from the Internet to the small screen was a noted learning experience. “We love the transition,” said Jacobson. “It’s crazy going from a two to four minute story, to a 20 minute situation. We had to have more focus on the story – on the day in the life. It was a big learning experience.”

The AV Club and Rolling Stone have compared the show to HBO’s “Girls,” another story of young women trying to situate their professional and social lives, making the transition into adulthood. “We’re straight up honored to be compared to such successful and established shows. It’s an honor to be in the same sentence as ‘Girls’,” said an elated Glazer.

Glazer noted that “Broad City” is part of a surge in television gender equality amongst shows such as “Girls” and “2 Broke Girls,” that focus on female leads. “We’ve been added to the new wave of feminism, and I’m glad we’re there,” said Glazer. “The world is super ready for equal representation for everyone. We’ve been received well. Where we [come] from, it has never felt like men versus women,” Glazer added.

“We hope to get a second season,” said Jacobson, in regards to their future. “In the meantime, we do have other projects: solo and other. But regardless, we want to continue [performing] together even if the show doesn’t get renewed.”

“Broad City” is a wonderful new addition to the Comedy Central line-up, with its strength found in the relatable and refreshing chemistry of two long-time friends. The humor of the show is instantly apparent, and the strong partnership of Jacobson and Glazer is apparent. The two stars have been involved in the comedy community for eight years: taking classes, doing improv, writing sketches, and working together with the prestigious Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisation and sketch comedy group. “The New York comedy community and Upright Citizens Brigade totally shaped our ability and network, especially the web series,” said Glazer. “We’re not afraid to try new stuff, and they’re all so very supportive.”

The show is currently halfway through the first season. “Broad City” has a style, seemingly an off-kilter, filthy, and crazy “Odd Couple” set the post-college world that is very sincere.

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