By Cait Rohan | March 16, 2016 | People
We caught Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s SXSW panel conversation with Marie Claire editor in chief Anne Fulenwider to hear the duo discuss getting big-time guest stars like Hillary Clinton to appear on Broad City, why they’re (sort of) control freaks when it comes to the series, and the one big difference between their off-screen and on-screen lives.
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer at a dinner hosted by Entertainment Weekly celebrating Mr. Robot at the Spotify House during SXSW.
Calling Broad City—the Comedy Central series from comedians Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson following two broke millennial 20-something New York women who are not-so-loosely based on Glazer and Jacobson themselves—a hit is an understatement. The hilarious show started off as a web series, until Amy Poehler became a fan and signed on as its executive producer when it moved to Comedy Central in 2014. Now in its third season, the series shows no signs of slowing down, as it’s been renewed for a fourth and fifth season as well.
But just how skyrocketing is that success? If Poehler’s name doesn’t do it for you, maybe guest stars like Amy Sedaris, Kelly Ripa, Fred Armisen, Janeane Garofalo, Seth Rogen, and many other famous comedians, actors, and pop culture icons, will. And the list of special guests is about to get even starrier when Hillary Clinton herself appears on tonight’s episode.
We caught Glazer and Jacobson at SXSW this past weekend, where they covered everything from weed to wardrobes to getting one of the most powerful women right now on their set.
Despite Broad City’s success, Glazer and Jacobson are still in shock when big-names like Vanessa Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Hillary Clinton agree to appear on the show—so much so that they always write in a character like the celebrity, but never expect that person to actually sign on. “For [Williams’] episode it was like, we kept calling Vanessa’s character, ‘Vanessa Williams,’ but not thinking we were honestly going to get her—but just being like, that type, that insane gravity of presence and her beauty,” Glazer explains. “And with the Whoopi [episode], it was also like, ‘HA HA HA HA, Whoopi.”’
“Every day when we were editing that episode, especially her entrance, I [was] like, ‘Let’s watch it one more time, let’s watch it again,’” Jacobson says of the Vanessa Williams episode.
“We talked about Whoopi so much as being an inspiration—especially when we grew up in the '90s,” says Glazer of Goldberg’s appearance. “She is a legend and it was insane, not just that she was on our show but what she did on our show.”
“She hung out on set,” Jacobson shares. “There are photos with us, the whole office.”
In tonight’s Broad City episode, Glazer’s character is working for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and—again, much to their surprise—Glazer and Jacobson got the Democratic Presidential hopeful to make an appearance.
“It took a very long time to ask her,” Jacobson notes. “We have an amazing production team that went out in a lot of different ways.”
“We had a bunch of simultaneous approaches, which was Amy Poehler, obviously, who played Hillary on Saturday Night Live,” Glazer adds.
The duo promises Cynthia Nixon, Alan Alda, and Rachel Dratch in this week’s episode, as well as cameos by Tony Danza and Blake Griffin this season.
Glazer’s dad played piano in the episode “A Visit from Val,” and you’ll see both of their moms this season.
Glazer and Jacobson shoot the show for 10 or 11 months out of the year. “You know, for me, each episode is sooo precious. I’m glad it takes that long because it is reflected in the product,” says Glazer.
“We have a lot of people that we work with,” Jacobson adds. “We have an amazing team of people that are constantly working with us in different ways and different parts of the process and collaborators and we feel like we’ve created this amazing team, but at the end of the day, we’re still there every day. They’re there… also… for parts. But we can’t leave… we can’t leave.”
Glazer smokes or vapes every day. “I’m very productive. I don’t do it if I have work,” she says.
“I don’t smoke as much as Ilana does,” Jacobson says. “I smoke but I don’t smoke a lot. I find it to make me less productive. If I smoke, I’m like, ‘Let’s hang out!”’
“A lot of it’s actually my f---ing clothes,” says Jacobson. “Like my old clothes from when I was 22.”
…And Jacobson counts it among their biggest failures. “We developed the show with FX first and they passed,” she says. “Thank God they passed.”
“We could use whatever music we wanted because we weren’t making any money off the web series and if you make money off of it, you should be paying the artist,” Jacobson explains. “And now we have an amazing music supervisor who finds music we can afford, but we don’t have a crazy budget.”
“It’s cool because then we get to learn about new artists and showcase new artists,” adds Glazer. “Our music supervisor’s a crazy music person so it’s cool actually because we get this new, fresh music.”
The pair agrees that the main difference between themselves and the women they play on Broad City is that they have successful careers in real life. “I think that we have a show,” says Jacobson. “I think we know what we want to do.”
“We work all the time and love that,” Glazer adds.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY VIVIEN KILLILEA/GETTY IMAGES FOR ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (SXSW)