Broad City is in its third season. The show is critically acclaimed and has a fiercely loyal and devoted audience. But do you feel successful?
ILANA GLAZER: I don’t know. It feels good. It feels like we’re doing okay. But have you “made it” if you don’t own a washer-dryer?
ABBI JACOBSON: This is a topic of conversation we have all the time, because neither of us has a washer-dryer.
You seriously discuss how neither of you are able to do laundry in your own homes?
GLAZER: All the time. We were talking about that this morning.
JACOBSON: Just a couple of hours ago, actually. Ilana said to me that she doesn’t have a washer-dryer, and that seems weird.
GLAZER: It would be weirder to have one.
JACOBSON: It would. But why does having a washer-dryer seem way beyond insane?
GLAZER: I think it would be life-changing. It would be huge.
Your characters on Broad City are pretty poor, yet they live in New York City. Is that still possible?
JACOBSON: I don’t know if they’re actually poor—I mean, at least compared with actual poor people.
GLAZER: Their parents help out.
JACOBSON: They come from middle or upper-class families, and they’re living in the city right up against these überwealthy people. So they end up with these day jobs they might not necessarily care about.
GLAZER: You can survive in New York without much, if you’re careful. You have to make your own food at home and not buy a lot of clothes.
JACOBSON: Having a bicycle helps.
A lot of female comedians, including Amy Schumer and both of you, have been accused of “sneaky” feminism. The Wall Street Journal explicitly described Broad City as “sneak attack feminism.” Why are you so sneaky?
JACOBSON: We’re both totally up-front and proud feminists. We’re not being all secretive about it. I feel we’re pretty blatant in our approach.
GLAZER: I think it’s kind of crazy that we’re still calling comedians “female comedians.” That seems more like a sneak attack.
JACOBSON: I mean, sure, if you play the episodes of Broad City backward, there are hidden messages.
GLAZER: “Diiiie, men.” If you play any Broad City episode backward, that’s all we’re saying.
Broad City has been compared to Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls. Both are about white upper-middle-class women who live in New York City and have lots of sex. How are the two shows different?
GLAZER: If somebody asks, I usually just tell them to google it.
JACOBSON: Or watch it and see if they’re different. Do your own homework.
GLAZER: It’s so weird that that’s a thing. Like, “You tell me why I’m going to watch these two shows about talking and walking vaginas.”
JACOBSON: Who has time for that?
GLAZER: You’ve got the one show about some vaginas.
JACOBSON: And then there’s that other show with the other talking and walking vaginas.
GLAZER: I’m not going to watch two TV shows with vaginas in them unless somebody tells me why they’re different!
Hillary Clinton is a guest on your show this season. Is the U.S. about to elect its first female president?
JACOBSON: I think we are, hopefully with Bernie Sanders in the Cabinet.
GLAZER: Bernie as vice president?
JACOBSON: That would make for a delicious world, right?
GLAZER: We’re big Hillary supporters, for a lot of reasons.
JACOBSON: I really like Hillary’s women’s rights agenda. I like her thoughts on the environment and what we do with trash and how we dispose of it and what we make shit out of. And stuff relating to trees and the earth and animals and shit, like food production. And climate change. Obviously there’s a huge problem going on.
GLAZER: Yeah, climate change is huge.
JACOBSON: Shit is getting dire.
You two should be writing campaign slogans for her. “Hillary Clinton in ’16: Shit Is Getting Dire.”
JACOBSON: Right? And that’s because it’s true. Shit is getting dire, and it’s not enough to just talk about it. You have to do something toward changing things.
GLAZER: Which Hillary will.
JACOBSON: We need somebody to stand up and say, “It’s all about climate issues and shit” and then do something about that shit!
Your characters on Broad City will do almost anything for each other, including be each other’s doo-doo ninjas. Is that a lesson in what true female friendships should look like?
GLAZER: That’s not a lesson in female friendships but rather in ride-or-die friendships.
JACOBSON: Exactly. It’s exciting to write characters who love each other and fight for each other.
GLAZER: There’s this belief with no merit that media with women at the center applies only to women, but media with men at the center applies to everyone. Abbi and Ilana’s friendship represents that ride-or-die dynamic for anyone to whom it speaks, not just women.
How well do you know each other? Tell us something about the other that she doesn’t know you know.
GLAZER: Okay, here’s something. The other day, Abbi knew I was wearing a new shirt.
JACOBSON: Yep, that’s true.
GLAZER: She just knew. I didn’t have to tell her. That’s when you know you know somebody: when you know every piece of clothing they have in their wardrobe. That’s friendship.
Ilana, your bras have become almost mythical; the strappy one has its own Reddit forum. Are they from your own wardrobe, or do you have a whole think tank devoted to creating aesthetically complicated bras?
GLAZER: Our costume designer, Staci Greenbaum, really had her finger on the pulse with that bra, as well as our shopper, Catharine Stuart, who’s out on the fashion streets doing the purchasing. I call it the goddess bra because it’s pseudo Grecian goddess. I feel like there was a BDSM thing going on in fashion recently, with leather harnesses and bodices, and this goddess-bra trend is like the sweatpants version of the harness. That style has been popping up everywhere. I don’t totally get the mythical part; that may just be what’s filling the bra. My boobs. And Abbi’s butt. Very powerful.
We’ve also heard that you’re more uncomfortable with the kissing scenes than the nude scenes. Please explain.
GLAZER: It just feels more intimate somehow. You meet this person, then your mouth is on their mouth, and the whole thing is being choreographed by your friend, and 70 people are on the set watching you do it. It feels weird. It feels abrupt. It isn’t natural. It’s a contrived thing. You’re not usually making out in front of 70 people. The nude thing, I don’t know. It’s sillier somehow. It’s more like physical comedy. But kissing someone, it feels invasive to have everybody watching me.
You’ve brought pegging into the mainstream. Before you used it as a comedic device on Broad City, did you know what pegging was?
JACOBSON: Oh sure. We do our homework.
GLAZER: We’re very knowledgeable. And in order to write the episode, we kind of required the entire production staff to experience it—the writers, actors, producers, people at the network.
JACOBSON: Right down to the lighting people. And the grip. He was essential.
GLAZER: We’re all about authenticity. I hope you didn’t get from that episode that we think pegging is weird. We think it’s the opposite.
JACOBSON: I think it’s hot. I’m glad I did it for the show.
Not everybody knows what we’re talking about. Could you help us explain to, let’s say, our mothers—in the most delicate, inoffensive way possible—what we mean by pegging?
GLAZER: Sure. Just tell her pegging is when a woman wears a strap-on with a very hard dildo and then puts it into a guy’s butthole, with lubricant and foreplay. Wait, why are you having to explain this?
JACOBSON: Does your mother not watch Broad City?
GLAZER: There’s something wrong with your mom.
Do your parents watch the show, or just the parts you’ve preapproved for them?
JACOBSON: They watch everything; we’ll just warn them in advance about some of it—“Next week is going to be a big one,” or whatever. But they sit through every episode anyway, even when it gets explicit. And they should
GLAZER: Some things are a little more risqué than others, but I think they understand where it’s coming from.
JACOBSON: Broad City has a wild side, but it also has a heartfelt side. It’s very human. I think that’s something both our parents are very proud of.
Even the drugs?
GLAZER: Sure. I vape with my parents in the house. My parents don’t really get high, which bums me out, but I vape with them around. It’s just like a glass of wine. The family of the future is parents and kids who get high together. That’s crazy to me, but it’s so cool. I like the fact that my parents are fine with it, even if they won’t do it with me.
When fans meet you, do they want your autograph or do they want to get stoned with you?
JACOBSON: They mostly want to smoke—that more than the autograph.
GLAZER: I never want to do it. It’s not a fun high. I’m just nervous and hyper-aware. But I like it when people just give us weed. That’s fucking awesome.
JACOBSON: When we were on tour, a lot of people just dropped joints on the merch table for us. That was great. Every time, I was like, “Thank you so much.”
GLAZER: It’s a true donor spirit.
JACOBSON: There was this one lady in Colorado who made us something ceramic; it could have been either a ring holder or a bowl cleaner. She was just like, “Here you go.” And we were both like, “Oh my God! Thank yoooou!”
Ilana, weren’t you in an antidrug club in high school?
GLAZER: I was, yes! [laughs] You got to miss class to do it; like, many periods of school. And then they took us to an elementary or middle school, and we told kids they could be cool when they grew up even if they didn’t do drugs.
JACOBSON: You didn’t start smoking?
JACOBSON: It just seems like it would’ve been a great opportunity. You get out of school; you’re hanging out.
GLAZER: Yeah. What did I do with that extra time?
JACOBSON: Why skip school if you’re not going to smoke?
GLAZER: Exactly. But I didn’t start smoking weed till my junior year. I had a boyfriend who smoked a lot, and I was like, Oh, I guess I’m moving on to this phase of life. [laughs] I didn’t fight it at all.
You’ve done some amazing things with Twitter, from pestering Whole Foods into letting you shoot at one of its stores to almost getting Diane Keaton to be a guest star on Broad City. Does it work both ways? Could fans Tweet-beg you into dating them or hosting their bar mitzvah?
GLAZER: I would love to host someone’s bar mitzvah. I would love to do that.
JACOBSON: I wonder how much we could get paid for that. It would have to be some Los Angeles Jewish dad paying for it, right?
Here’s a dilemma. You have $100 to spend in Bed Bath & Beyond. What do you buy, and do you use coupons?
JACOBSON: We have $100 to spend? Okay, let’s think about this rationally. I need some hangers.
GLAZER: You should get the velvet ones.
JACOBSON: Yes, some velvet hangers. I need some trash bags. I need.… What do I need? Ilana doesn’t have a teakettle. We would get you a top-of-the-line teakettle.
Why do we have a weird feeling we could leave the room right now and come back in an hour and the two of you would still be talking about this?
JACOBSON: Could you stop with the questions for a minute? We’re trying to figure this out.
GLAZER: I would get a heating pad. I gave my heating pad away and I would really love one. The last time I was in Bed Bath & Beyond, I was with you, actually. We got you a lot of candles. Was it a dozen?
JACOBSON: [Laughs] I do need a dozen candles.
GLAZER: I don’t like their candles. I just don’t like the glass candleholders. It’s like wasting all this glass.
JACOBSON: But then you have all these candle containers. You can reuse them.
GLAZER: I don’t know. I’m not convinced.