37 "Broad City" Facts That Are Utterly Delicious
Ilana and Abbi were going to be called Carly and Evelyn.
1. The show was originally a webseries, also titled Broad City.
2. Ilana was actually a member of an anti-drug group in high school where they would gather and “talk about how cool it was that they didn't do drugs”.
3. When they first wrote the script for the series, their characters were going to be named Carly and Evelyn.
4. When it was still a web series, Abbi’s mother would excitedly boast to people about her daughter’s success, saying “she’s on YouTube!” not really grasping that basically anyone could be on YouTube.
5. In “The Last Supper” when Abbi carries Ilana out of the restaurant in the allergy scene, a stunt double was hired to do the carrying because no one thought she could actually do it. Abbi really did carry her out, though, and everyone cheered when she did.
6. Abbi accidentally stabbing herself with an EpiPen was inspired by true events. During orientation when she was a counsellor, one of the camp owners was demonstrating how to use an EpiPen for kids with allergies, and accidentally stabbed herself in the hand.
7. Abbi and Ilana met while taking classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade improv school in 2007, when they were 22 and 19.
8. They were both trying, but struggling, to make it on to a house improv team when they decided they wanted to create something instead of doing improv, and began working on the web series. They reached out to others in the UCB community to join and it became a collaborative project.
9. The characters are exaggerated semi-autobiographical versions of Abbi and Ilana’s younger selves and most of the stories are inspired by things that have happened to either them or their friends.
10. It was a long shot but they got their teacher to ask Amy Poehler, one of the cofounders of UCB, to appear in the season finale of their web series and she said she'd love to do it; it helped that they were shooting just around the corner from her house.
11. Poehler became an executive producer of Broad City, gave them notes on their webisodes, attended marketing meetings, and helped them find a network for the show. She later directed the Season 1 finale, which she guest starred in as a chef.
12. The show was originally meant to be on FX but they "very nicely gave it back" and it eventually was greenlit by Comedy Central.
13. When Abbi first met Ilana she thought Ilana was Alia Shawkat, aka Maeby Funke from Arrested Development. Shawkat would eventually guest star in the show as Ilana’s doppelgänger love interest.
14. While working on the web series they had a side job at a deals website, Lifebooker, which is what inspired Ilana's fictional role at “Deals! Deals! Deals!”
15. Abbi’s fictional bathroom-cleaning job at Soulstice was inspired by her real gig of handing out flyers for Equinox, where she also desperately wanted to work out.
16. Abbi actually went to art school and is an illustrator in real life. She’s published two colouring books of her illustrations and a book named Carry This Book with drawings of the items she imagines famous people would carry in their pockets and purses.
17. In the Missy Elliot/Nicki Minaj music video fantasy, Abbi gets an $8,000 check for an illustration job. This was a fictionalised version of when Abbi Jacobson really did get $8,000 for an illustration job, but in reality, she quit her job at the deals website and started focusing entirely on Broad City.
18. Ilana Wexler’s brother Eliot is played by Ilana Glazer’s real-life brother Eliot Glazer.
19. For the scene where Abbi and Bingo Bronson destroy Whole Foods, the show’s location manager couldn’t lock down the Gowanus Whole Foods for shooting, so Abbi and Ilana tweeted “let us shoot there” to their Twitter over and over until the store eventually caved.
20. Since “To Peg or Not to Peg” aired, both women recount being thanked by multiple people for talking about and normalising pegging in the mainstream, including someone Abbi was on a date with.
21. Amy Poehler was a big part of why they’re allowed to be so sexually adventurous on the series. She's the one who gave them “permission to have that agency over the sexual politics of the show”, but these topics have to go through many revisions. The pegging storyline is an example of this, where they wanted to be clear the joke was the Etsy dildo and not the pegging itself.
22. Season 4 features an episode about how the fictional Abbi and Ilana met. They originally wrote this as the finale of the first season but Amy Poehler told them, “Don’t do it. It’s too early.”
23. Each episode roughly covers the span of a day, so we’ve only really seen a small selection of days of these characters’ lives.
24. In the dressing room scene in “In Heat” where Ilana looks at her vagina in the mirror, the network originally wanted the pixels to be Ilana’s skin tone, but Abbi and Ilana insisted on some darker pixels to indicate being grown women with pubes.
25. The two often like writing separately so they can try to make each other laugh, and then “come back and rewrite both parts together”.
26. Both Abbi and Ilana have a lot of love for Robin Williams and the storyline in “Burning Bridges” when Abbi is running back and forth between tables is an homage to the movie Mrs Doubtfire.
27. Mara Wilson, who played Nattie in Mrs Doubtfire, came out of retirement to guest star as the waitress in the episode inspired by the movie.
28. Lincoln’s pasta blog “The Al Dente Dentist” actually exists.
29. Early suggestions for the show's name included "Titstown" and "Broadville".
30. Abbi’s mother actually worked at Bed Bath & Beyond while she was growing up.
31. The Bed Bath & Beyond obsession isn’t sponsored; they have to pay to shoot there.
32. The “Bed Bath & Beyond coupons never expire” joke was based on a real event where Abbi’s former roommate threw away an envelope of coupons she was saving. Abbi and Ilana have hinted that they’re supposed to stop advertising the fact that the coupons don’t expire.
33. The show was renewed for a third season before the second aired, and then renewed for a fourth and fifth season before the third began to air.
34. Ilana Glazer was once roommates with Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
35. While Bevers on the show is loosely based on an old living situation Abbi Jacobson was in, her real-life best friend is named Jessica Bevers and the character is named after her.
36. Bevers’ absent girlfriend is an homage to Frasier, one of their favourite shows. Abbi's roommate Melody is never actually around, much like Niles’ always-absent wife.
37. They rewrote a lot of Season 4 after the US election as they had originally written it assuming a Hillary Clinton win.