The Night Feed
, Posted on 1/22/2014 by
TL;DR Broad City premieres tonight on Comedy Central at 10:30PM ET. It is fantastic, and you should be watching it.
I stumbled onto Broad City when it was a web series as they were still releasing new episodes for its second season, and I immediately went on to watch the whole series up to that point. NYC-based comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer were a thrill to watch onscreen. They had no fear when it came to making fools of themselves or being vulnerable (Is there a difference?). They danced to "Fight the Power" in Rosie-Perez-inspired outfits and made sure everyone knew girls pooped. They got range #TigerWoods.
Amy Poehler must have seen something too because she came along and said, "Yo, I want a piece of that," (not a real quote) and after a few back-and-forths with FX and Comedy Central, the show found a home on Comedy Central. Read about how it happened here.
The translation from web series to television, I'm sure, is a difficult one, but Broad City does it well. The strongest part of the episode is how it's able to showcase Ilana and Abbi's strong chemistry. Ilana's loud, sexual, and impulsive nature versus Abbi's awkward, self-deprecating tendencies work well together. The comedy duo is nothing unusual but these characters are not archetypes. Ilana and Abbi live and breathe these characters. And to have Amy Poehler, who passes on every question about the status of women and comedy, as a mentor must be so influential in building real characters regardless of gender. Do some of the story lines stem from being women? Yes. Does the humor come from the characters just being women? Absolutely not. This isn't lowest common denominator stuff.
What is odd is seeing Fred Armisen in this episode. He took me out of the episode a bit since he's such a familiar face, and I'm not used to seeing him around Abbi and Ilana (unlike when Armisen appeared on Brooklyn Nine Nine with Andy Samberg). I was also surprised at how the show was willing to put Abbi and Ilana in their underwear so early in the series. It definitely makes a statement on how they're willing to go all the way for comedy despite feeling uncomfortable (poor Abbi).
The premiere episode establishes the "Broad" portion of the title. The main characters are bold women who are going to run this town. I'm waiting for the "City" portion. I loved how the web series made NYC a character of its own. Once the show establishes the universe, I hope NYC will become more of a factor. I would also like to see them experiment with genres like they did in their web series with the Spike Lee- and Woody Allen-influenced episodes. I'm glad to see the show's hip-hop influence is staying put.
Abbi and Ilana have also paid a visit to the My Damn Channel LIVE studio. They were really good sports.
Broad City premieres on Comedy Central tonight at 10:30 PM ET. It's written and created by NYC-based comedians Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. You can watch first episode now.