Throughout the run of “Broad City,” creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have been conflicted about how much of their on-screen characters (also named Abbi and Ilana) should come directly from their personalities and lives. But when it came to the final season, Jacobson in particular experienced a life-changing shift that she wanted to impart to her character. For the first time, she dated a woman — and now, so will the Abbi she plays on TV.
“I think it’s so important to show that you can still discover things about yourself and your own queerness,” Jacobson says, a sentiment on which her recent post-breakup memoir (“I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities and Other Stuff”) hinges in frank and heartbreaking detail.
“Abbi’s character, like Abbi herself, didn’t necessarily know she’s down with girls,” Glazer adds. “It’s dope.”
It’s not just Jacobson who discovers facets of her sexuality during the course of “Broad City”; Glazer’s character has always expressed interest in people of all genders. But Glazer, who is married to a man, describes her history with her sexuality as far more complicated. “I’ve been trying to take up more space for my own queerness, whereas before I was like, ‘Just kidding!’ I wasn’t owning my s–t,” she says. “I’ve been visibly queer on ‘Broad City’ all this time, but I just didn’t get it for myself. Because I do love d–k, and I do love t-ts! But now that I don’t have to think about writing for ‘Ilana’ and being in my skin as her …”
Well, as Jacobson puts it, it’s been gratifying to “enact that part” of themselves, on-screen and off.
“It’s so cool to give that to the show,” Jacobson begins to say before Glazer, protective of the precious separation between real life and fictional, jumps in to clarify.
“You’re not giving it,” Glazer insists. “You’re sharing it. It’s still yours.”
“And I’m so happy to,” Jacobson replies, “because I’m so happy to talk about it in such a casual but open way. That’s how people need to experience it.”