Clinton, Weed Consumption, and Anal: 8 Things We Learned at Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s SXSW Panel


AUSTIN, TX: It was 9:30 on the first Saturday morning of South by Southwest, but the reception was anything but muted – Broad City creators/writers/producers/stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson got a rock star’s welcome for their hour-long panel discussion at the film, music, and interactive festival. The conversation, moderated by Marie Claire Editor-In-Chief Anne Fulenwider, was funny and thoughtful – but this is a conference, after all, so they were there to teach and inform. Here are a few highlights:

Ilana Glazer at SXSW. Jason Bailey / Flavorwire

How they got Hillary Clinton.

“You know that meme of Hillary texting? It’s always us, every time,” Glazer laughed. But their high-profile (and somewhat controversial) booking of guest star Hillary Clinton – which they revealed will air this Wednesday – was, understandably, a bit of a process.

“We had come up with this idea that Ilana’s character would find the Hillary campaign in some way and be a part of it,” Jacobson said. “And that was the end of the joke, and that doesn’t require Hillary.” But as they worked the script, the pair and their producers figured it couldn’t hurt to at least try to get her. They brainstormed all possible approaches to the former Secretary of State – most notably, their producer Amy Poehler, as well as contacts at Comedy Central and on their staff who knew people on the campaign.

“The intel about whether or not she’d be able to do it was very slow, so we had to move forward with the episode. But then we heard that she wanted to do it.” Jacobson recalled. “From that moment, of finding out that she and her campaign thought it was a good idea, to filming it, it was like really hard to believe.”

Glazer added, “I would’ve understood if, whatever, she couldn’t do it. Like, yeah, you’re running for president.”

Why they have to work so hard.

Doing their various jobs on Broad City doesn’t leave a lot of time for other endeavors; Glazer explained that, from brainstorming to writing to shooting to editing, they spend about eleven months of every year on each season. And they know they could lighten their load – but they just can’t let it go.

“We could have time off, if we let other people go in to the edit instead of us. But it’s like, we can’t,” Jacobson explained. “I mean, we could, but we can’t and get the same product.”

Fulenwider asked if this makes them control freaks. “I don’t feel like one, but I am. And listen, we have a lot of people that we work with, we have an amazing team of people that are working with us in different ways, on different parts of the process, these collaborators, and 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.”

Abbi Jacobson at SXSW. Jason Bailey / Flavorwire

How much weed they smoke.

“I probably smoke every day, smoke or bake,” Glazer said, matter-of-factly, and refuted the most common stereotype about regular smokers: “I’m very productive. I’m good.”

But Jacobson falls into that, she explained. “I don’t smoke as much as Ilana does. I think I was at my peak smoke in high school, and I smoke, but I don’t smoke a lot. I find that it makes me less productive. And so I smoke, and I think ‘let’s hang out,’ when I should be working, and it doesn’t help me as much.”

What they like about their show’s voice.

“The characters are inspired by us, truly us, and then we blow it out to absurdity for comedy’s sake,” Glazer explained, of the show’s overall ethos. “But we don’t put anything into the show that we don’t believe in.”

This came in response to Fulenwider’s observation that the show’s fluidity and freedom, in terms of its subject matter and assumptions, are so admirably off-hand, just a part of these characters’ lives – no big deal. “I feel like we show things on the show that I think are not such a thing to younger people,” Glazer agreed, citing elements like the interracial relationship between her character and Hannibal Buress’ Lincoln. “It is a thing, though in New York City or Austin or all these places, you take it for granted.

“We have the privilege of living this liberal life,” Glazer continued. “It’s fun to show how liberal it can be.”

Ilana Glazer at SXSW. Jason Bailey / Flavorwire

How they feel about being Millennial icons.

When Fulenwider broached the topic of the “M-word,” Jacobson got a little nervous: “I don’t know if I am one. When is it?” (“You’re clear,” Glazer assured her.) They’re delighted, Glazer said, but also happy they’re not boxed in by that designation. “Obviously, the target demo is young people in their twenties and thirties,” she said, “but when people are older than that and love the show, there’s a particular sense of accomplishment there.”

And those labels are losing their meaning anyway, she shrugged; everyone is on social media, everyone’s scrolling through their phones, “everything is fluid.” To which Jacobson offered up a theory: “The Internet is making everyone an millennial. It’s the great equalizer.”

“Quote it, print it, press it, send it!” Jacobson announced.

How they feel about being feminist icons.

Some of their jokes and situations aren’t intentionally feminist, Glazer explained, but “because we are feminists, everything we do, smells like it.” And that’s fine with her; “That’s the best, and I’m stoked.”

Abbi Jacobson at SXSW. Jason Bailey / Flavorwire

What you should know about Abbi’s “adult coloring books.”

Jacobson has used some of her scant spare time to create the “Color This Book” series, but something about the designation “adult coloring books” makes her nervous. “You don’t have to like, frame it like that,” she told Fulenwider. “‘Adult’ makes it sound like they’re risqué, and they’re not at all. Not all. It’s like, ‘Oh, are there dicks?’ There’s none.”

What every woman should try, at one time or another.

Asked this innocent, back-page-of-Marie-Claire question by Fulenwider, Glazer immediately giggled, “Anal?”

“I knew you’d fucking say that,” Jacobson immediately replied. But Glazer stood her ground: “I cannot limit it to one, but that is at least one.”

“Oh my God,” cringed Jacobson – but then, put on the spot, she couldn’t come up with a better answer herself. “That is something that I think people are hesitant and scared of…”

“This is amazing.” Glazer marveled. And she was right.