“Broad City” brings fresh perspective to Comedy Central 1

Emma Augustine – 1851 Staff

Stand up comedy and comedy series stick to a foolproof formula: begin with an anecdote to introduce a topic, point out how your story may be a relatable situation, follow this by a generalization regarding race or gender, and conclude with a snarky and memorable punch line. 

Thankfully, more women in comedy are receiving recognition and continue to bring a new perspective to what continues to be a male-dominated industry. Allow me to introduce the ladies of “Broad City.”

Joining the ranks of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are the shameless, offbeat, and creative voices of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.  The two comedians (who also produce, illustrate, and write) debuted their show, “Broad City” on Comedy Central in January. The episodes highlight the hilarious and often cringe-worthy scenarios that come along with living in New York City as a twenty-something woman.

Glazer and Jacobson create scenes that begin as believable or reasonable, which quickly escalate to ridiculous extremes due to Glazer’s go-with-the-flow attitude and Jacobson’s willingness to indulge her.  Although “Broad City” is now formatted for Comedy Central’s audience, the concept behind the show is nothing new to Glazer and Jacobson.

Since their first YouTube post four years ago, Glazer and Jacobson have been developing their web series, whose title Comedy Central kept.  The online series featured shorter skits dealing with everything from street harassment to awkward text messages.

Johnson and Glazer are alumnae of Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB), a theatre that both teaches and performs long form improvisation. Notable UCB alumni consist of Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Pally, and Bobby Moynihan. Upon the last episode of their web series, Poehler agreed to be an executive producer, which led to FX and Comedy Central pursuing the show.

Before the Comedy Central version of “Broad City” debuted, an online buzz began, comparing the show to Girls. I can assure you it’s not the same. In fact, the only similarity drawn between them is that both shows revolve around a cast of females. “Broad City’s” approach to comedy may evoke uncomfortable laughter from their audience, but it keeps viewers glued to the TV.

For example, picture the adventures of two young women in the city who respond to a Craigslist ad that requires them to clean a house in underwear to ‘make a quick buck.’  Fans of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “Workaholics,” “The Today Show,” and “The Spoils of Babylon” are likely to enjoy “Broad City.”  If you are not entertained by references to sex, drug use, or the spontaneity of improvisational comedy, consider yourself warned.

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