We all know David and Robert as the dynamic actors behind the much loved and mimicked characters of David and George respectively on Broad City. But did you know that they are actually quite close friends? In fact, when it comes to acting, their friendship is what helped them to create one of the greatest comedy duos of all time. It’s well-documented how the two actors met during the making of The League and later went on to form a group with their friend and Parks & Rec alumna Jenny Slate. We can’t resist a good story, but this one is pretty incredible. So, let’s dive in.
The Making Of ‘Broad City’
If you’ve never heard of Broad City, we’re going to have to change that. Created by and starring comedians and writers Abby McElway and Ilana Glazer, the show is often touted as being one of the greatest comedies of all time. Its nuanced portrayal of friendship and the female experience makes it quite an achievement. It’s important to note here that the two lead actresses share the same agent, so it’s no surprise that they ended up teaming up on a show.
To coincide with the show’s third season premiere on September 26th, 2019, we were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Abby and Ilana to learn a little bit more about the dynamic duo, the story of their show, and what’s next for these characters and the rest of their busy acting careers. We also spoke with series director Elizabeth Glazer, who helped shape the careers of Abby and Ilana, about the challenges of helming a show about web series phenomenon and the future of Broad City. So, read on to learn more about the real-life friendship of one of the greatest comedy duos of all time, the making of their show and what’s next for their characters Abigail “Abby” and Ilana “Ilana” after the dissolution of The League.
What Inspired The Two To Form A Comedy Duo?
To be perfectly honest, before Abby and Ilana teamed up to create Broad City, they had previously tried working together and were frustrated with the results. In fact, when they started out as comedy writers, they were known as “The Twisted Twins.” They would often write sketches for Saturday Night Live that were so similar to one another that they were almost indistinguishable. So when they finally decided to give it one more try, they drew inspiration from their friendship. It was during this time that they came up with the concept for Broad City, which was initially titled “The Babysitter’s Club.” They wanted to explore the unique relationship that develops between a teen girl and her babysitter.
How Has The Female Comedy Duo Played A Role In The Development Of Their Career?
Since its premiere, Broad City has featured some of the biggest and most iconic stars in American cinema. While the show doesn’t outright call out its influences, it’s clear that its sharp writing and insightful observations on millennial culture are akin to some of the greatest comedies of all time. In fact, Broad City even manages to reference some of the most beloved movies of all time, which is no small feat.
One of the first people the two ever considered for a role was Meryl Streep. They were so impressed by her that they wrote a sketch for Saturday Night Live centered around her image. And considering that Streep had recently become the oldest person ever to be awarded an Academy Award, it wasn’t hard to see why they were so taken by her. But it was a meeting with legendary composer Robert John “Mutt” Lange that really cemented their decision to cast Streep as Abigail’s godmother.
How Is The Friendship Between Abby And Ilana Shaped By Their Work Together?
It’s important to note here that the two lead actresses of Broad City, Abby and Ilana, are actually quite close friends. In real life, they often dress alike and have a lot of fun together. In fact, they’ve been known to immerse themselves in make-believe games together, which is probably how they came up with the idea for Broad City in the first place.
What is also interesting is that while the show is mostly about their unique relationship, it doesn’t shy away from their friendship either. In fact, they often bring up the subject of their differences, which range from fashion to acting to improv to comedy. Yet, despite their differences, their bond as friends is apparent everywhere you look.
What Are Some Of The Differences Between The Two?
Well, first of all, Abigail is the practical one and Ilana is the dreamer. For example, when they were kids, Ilana would always draw pictures of future scenes while Abigail would write down all the details of the plot. Naturally, this led to their friendship blossoming into one that was mostly based on their differences. But while their friendship is unique, they have a lot in common too, like their love for animals and their taste in clothing. They also have a child-like charm that is apparent in all of their roles. Here’s a short list of some of the differences between the two:
- Ilana is the dreamer while Abigail is the practical one
- Abigail is the more traditional of the two, often going by the book while Ilana is highly unconventional
- While the show is mostly about their friendship, it doesn’t shirk away from their differences either
- Their bond as friends is apparent in all of their roles, from the very beginning
- They’re often referred to as “The Feminist Duo” because of their unique relationship in the industry
- They’ve been referred to as “The Next Generation of Comedy Stars” because of their unique relationship in the industry and their fresh take on classic topics.
The Evolution Of ‘Broad City’
While Abby and Ilana are extremely busy with their careers, they have made room for some side projects. Not only have they teamed up for a podcast where they interview notable people, they’ve also released a few solo albums. The first was a jazz album called “Catch My Baby Sister By Mistake,” which featured some of the greatest artists of the 1940s and 1950s, like Lester Young and Billy Strayhorn. A few weeks later, they dropped an album of standards, which showcased their incredible vocal talent. We don’t expect them to slow down any time soon. Between acting, directing, writing, and producing, they have plenty to keep them busy.
What Is The Next Big Project For Abby And Ilana?
As previously stated, Abby and Ilana are incredibly busy with their careers. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have time for fun. And what could be more fun than teaming up with their friend and Parks & Rec alumna Jenny Slate to create a new show about the dissolution of a group of friends?
The duo were so taken by the Twitter hashtag #dissociafterparty that they decided to investigate the phenomenon. Set in New York City, the series explores the often hilarious ramifications of some of the craziest parties that these hyper-connected millennials can throw. Along with Slate, the trio will star as themselves, exploring the crazy nights leading up to and after the big party. It’s an experience that the two lead actresses will remember for the rest of their lives. And even if you’ve never heard of #dissociafterparty, you’ve surely heard of the party that inspired it. But since it’s still in its early stages, details are scarce. So we’ll have to wait and see what this series is going to look like. But considering that it’s being touted as a sharp parody and commentary on today’s culture, it’s sure to be a show to watch.