Real-life hilarity with Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana.
“You don’t have to kill her with your bare hands,” Abbi Jacobson says. “She can die in her sleep. It could be, like, a pill.” She and her sitcom partner, Ilana Glazer, are indulging my request for a round of Fuck, Marry, Kill—Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj—inspired by a promo for season two of their show, Broad City, premiering early 2015, in which they play a round while riding the Coney Island Cyclone. Glazer has just announced that Nicki might be the one to go. “You can even have dinner with her before you kill her,” Jacobson prods, having already admitted that she’d have to kill Nicki. Glazer considers this, then changes her mind. “Beyoncé, though? I know she’s really happy, but I could also kill her just to, like, let her rest.”
This conversation goes on for a full five minutes, with Jacobson and Glazer each making a compelling case for almost every variation of the game’s outcome. “We did that a couple times [for the promo], too many times on the fucking roller coaster, and Ilana answered differently every time,” Jacobson says. In the final cut, Glazer says she would marry Nicki, but today she’s thinking Rihanna. “I actually think we would pair very well,” she explains. Jacobson agrees: “I think you would too.”
It’s this ability to endlessly and casually riff on pop culture—or the vagina’s capabilities as a pocket, or the true meaning of expiration dates on Bed Bath & Beyond coupons—that makes Broad City so compelling. The show started as a web series in 2009, then made the move to Comedy Central in 2014 with the help of executive producer Amy Poehler. The half-hour show follows Abbi and Ilana, fictionalized versions of Jacobson and Glazer, as they navigate life as single, semibroke 20-somethings in New York City. Think Girls but actually funny, or Seinfeld with nicer people and 100 percent more hip-hop references.
The pair met while taking classes at Upright Citizens Brigade, where they decided to do something together after repeatedly failing to get on the house comedy teams. “I don’t think Broad City would have happened if we had gotten on one,” Glazer says. “But eventually, the rejection motivated us to make our own project and create our own content.” After several years of producing two-minute shorts for YouTube, Glazer and Jacobson now find themselves at the forefront of a resurgence in female-led comedy.