‘Broad City’ Is Ending. Be at Peace With That. The Creators Are. | Modern Society of USA

‘Broad City’ Is Ending. Be at Peace With That. The Creators Are.

‘Broad City’ Is Ending. Be at Peace With That. The Creators Are.

When Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came to the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn in December, every sight, structure and storefront seemed to remind them of the formative days of “Broad City.” There was the waterfront where, more than a decade ago, they would sit and imagine what the future held for them. There were the former offices of Lifebooker, the defunct beauty-and-lifestyle bargain website, where they worked intermittently while they wrote the earliest episodes of the “Broad City” online series over Gchat.

Those days of striving and subsisting are long gone for them. Jacobson, 34, and Glazer, 31, are not just the creators and stars of “Broad City,” the Comedy Central series that puts an antic, absurdist spin on their coming-of-age adventures; they’re members of the entertainment establishment. They present at prestigious awards shows, appear in tributes to their comedy foremothers; and have no shortage of solo projects. Jacobson writes books (like her recent memoir, “I Might Regret This”) and stars on Netflix’s “Disenchantment,” and Glazer performs stand-up comedy and appears in films like “Rough Night.”

They can’t pretend to be who they aren’t anymore, and so, the coming season of “Broad City,” which makes its debut on Jan. 24, will be its last. On a break from editing some of the final episodes, Jacobson and Glazer explained their decision to end the series on their own terms, talked about the making of the final season and looked forward to life — as collaborators and friends — without the show.

These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

As we speak, you’re not quite done with your work on “Broad City,” but how does it feel to be very nearly done with the show?

ILANA GLAZER I’m finally starting to process it now. It feels like we have two babies, who are our inner children, and we’re sending them off to college. You don’t need us anymore.

ABBI JACOBSON We didn’t know exactly how or why or when, but we knew what the end would be. I’m not going to tell you it. But we want you to leave the characters and feel O.K.

GLAZER Before, part of the joke was, ha ha, these white girls don’t have to grow. Because in your early 20s, you’re the same idiot, over and over and over again. And then Season 4, we couldn’t help but grow because we were so angry and disgusted with ourselves.


GLAZER When we came back to rewrite it [after the 2016 presidential election], there was so much police brutality. We kept being like, why the [expletive] are we in here?

JACOBSON We’d be breaking an act, thinking, how are we doing this? Constant news alerts.

GLAZER That’s not why we needed this to end. It was more like, the fourth season was bizarrely political, the process of it, and I think that’s why the product turned out that way. Season 4 really took it out of me, from beginning to end, and stretched on for so long. We couldn’t do another one after 5. Couldn’t do it.

Did you get yourselves a Larry David-type deal where you could revisit the characters in a few years if you feel inspired?

JACOBSON [cautiously] I think we could? Sometimes networks do that, and they don’t say a show’s ending.

GLAZER That, we didn’t want to do. Comedy Central was so understanding that we needed to set these personal and creative boundaries, to keep the show as high-quality as it remains. That takes a limb. It takes an entire arm. I’ve got no limbs left. My head’s cut off on the fifth. I’ve got nothing left to give. There’s just a torso on the floor.

There’s a sense of finality that starts to creep into the last episodes, but still a spirit of absurdity and experimentation. The season premiere was produced to look like Instagram Stories.

GLAZER It started as a documentary, one that Ilana made about Abbi. And then we were like, it should be more modern, because everybody’s documenting themselves all the time. It’s already based on Instagram Stories. We did not want to be —


GLAZER — creatively bound to Instagram.

JACOBSON They were like, you can maybe use it if you send it to us. And we’re like, you’re going to limit us.

We also see Abbi have her first experience dating a woman.

JACOBSON That’s in my book [in which Jacobson talks about dating a woman], and I wanted to put that in the show. It totally feels —

GLAZER Completely sincere.

JACOBSON Abbi’s not the fumbling idiot we’re used to seeing, trying to ask someone out. It feels more real.

GLAZER She knows how to ask somebody out, and she wants to. It’s fun to see that.

JACOBSON That’s such an Ilana influence — real life, and the show.

GLAZER For the whole show, we’ve been figuring out how much different we are than our characters. Now that it’s over, I feel so free and proud to be like, that is us. It’s not completely, exactly us, but it’s us.

JACOBSON And for other people to see it. I really feel like our show has been so queer from the get-go.

GLAZER Queerer than we knew. Behind the scenes, in front of the cameras. Everyone who works with us has gotten queerer and queerer in the past six years. I swear to God.

What was it like to write the series finale?

GLAZER We’ll write Act 1 together. And then one of us takes Act 2, one takes Act 3. And we were writing different parts across a table.

JACOBSON I’m like this: [lip trembling]

GLAZER We were like: [gasping for breath]. And then we just let it out, crying.

JACOBSON I have a picture of you, just in tears.

GLAZER And then we were laughing at ourselves, crying. Because sometimes we’re like dudes and we don’t want to cry.

JACOBSON We filmed ourselves reading it.

GLAZER Crying, laughing, crying, laughing, crying, laughing. It is crazy.

Were those emotions even more intense on your last day of filming?

GLAZER Luckily, we were supposed to be weeping. We were weeping for like three hours at dawn. It was so dramatic.

JACOBSON The two of us decided to weep privately, first. We just needed to talk and hang.

GLAZER I was like, [sniffs] “We’re going to be friends?”

Does it feel contradictory to know that you’re going to miss the show, but also to be relieved that the exhausting process of creating it will be over?

JACOBSON It’s exhausting because you love it so much. I am scared I will never have a project where I feel this way. I probably won’t, exactly.

GLAZER It’s like your first love. You’re like, I’m going to be with this person forever! And then it’s like, no, I’m not. But I’m going to learn from this forever. We both need some space from this universe that we’ve lived in. We started the web series in 2009. At 31, that’s like a third of my life. It’s the longest relationship either one of us has ever had.

Do you feel like the amplified version of New York you’ve been satirizing but also celebrating on the show is going away?

GLAZER This is where I get verklempt. Because it is changing. I’ve been here 13 years, and after “Sex and the City,” I thought, as a white person, I was always going to be the change and not see it. But I really have seen so much of the city change in a way that makes me sad, I guess.

JACOBSON I’ve been here 12 years, and when we met each other, we were very broke and scrappy and hustling. This romanticized idea of the city. And that’s what we’ve always tried to infuse into the show. But you start to lose a little bit of that bright lights, big city vibe.

GLAZER We own apartments. I’m not making it work in the same way, and I don’t want to. I want the people who are having that experience to tell me what that experience in 2019 is.

JACOBSON Make me nostalgic for it. I know I can’t make myself nostalgic anymore.

If the series is ending, does that mean your partnership is over, too?

JACOBSON I don’t feel that way. We have two shows that we’re producing together.

GLAZER One that we’re producing and one that we’re at least writing the pilot. Remember, bitch?

JACOBSON We just took that one.

GLAZER Did not plan on that. It’s still hard to write, but it’s a lot quicker.

JACOBSON We’re less precious with it, too. We’re like, oh, let’s get feedback and we’ll make it better. With “Broad City,” we’re like, this has to be the best seventh episode of the season.

Will your friendship be different when you don’t have “Broad City” taking up so much of your energy and attention?

GLAZER I can’t wait to be real friends that aren’t working all the time.

JACOBSON We constantly spend time together, because we’re editing now. I went to her parents’ Hanukkah.

GLAZER Um, I held Hanukkah. My parents were guests.

JACOBSON That’s what I meant. Ilana’s Hanukkah.

GLAZER I ordered food.

JACOBSON We’ll do dinners. Couples’ massages.

GLAZER Gummy dinners.


GLAZER Weed gummies. Where you can’t work for eight hours.

JACOBSON You can’t talk.

GLAZER I’m saying this as a real intention: I really look forward to doing stuff that is not work and checking on each other for being accountable to live actual life, and not always working.

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