If there’s anything we learned from the Ghostbusters debacle of last summer, it’s that it is still difficult to be a female comedian in the 2017. And just a female in general (we weren’t as surprised for that part).
But for Broad City (returning Wednesday, September 13 on MUCH) creators, writers, and stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the pair have managed to come into their own with the groundbreaking series, while staying true to their vision and proving that viewers will tune into a comedy with *gasp* female leads.
Drawing from their background in sketch, Jacobson and Glazer grew their web series into one of the biggest shows on Comedy Central, gaining an early fan in Amy Poehler, who signed on as Executive Producer for the half-hour comedy. Now going into its fourth season (the first three seasons are currently available on CraveTV), we’re taking a look back at how the past decade of comedians and writers helped pave the way for the success of Broad City.
MELISSA MCCARTHY AND BEN FALCONE
Like Jacobson and Glazer, who met at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone also met doing improv, in their case at the Groundlings in LA. The couple’s history with improv has been hugely influential on their writing style, with McCarthy and Falcone the writers and stars behind the feature films The Boss and Tammy. Learning a shorthand through improv makes their writing more amenable to on-the-spot variations, which allows for a more improvisational and natural performance. It’s a flow that is visible in each episode of Broad City, from Glazer’s free-flowing wild child to Jacobson’s all-too realistic moments of second-hand embarrassment.
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY AND JORDAN PEELE
As the creators and stars of Key & Peele, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele helped bring sketch comedy back to TV, specifically Comedy Central, which is also home to Broad City. The duo’s timely jokes and exploration of pop culture, including riffs on Game of Thrones and Undercover Boss, is mirrored in Broad City’s content, with Jacobson and Glazer taking on everything from the 2016 US Presidential Election to dancing to Lady Gaga‘s “Edge Of Glory.”
SETH ROGEN AND EVAN GOLDBERG
Writing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have made a career out of delivering hit, R-rated comedies with male leads. While on the surface their films, including Superbad, Neighbors, Pineapple Express and This Is The End, centre around the same raunchy humour, the main focus of each film is friendship. It’s the same reason why viewers tune in every week to see ‘fronds to the end’ Abbi and Ilana be the best of besties.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND JIMMY FALLON
No two people are bigger fans of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon than JT and JF, which is why the duo continue to produce viral moments. Like Jacobson and Glazer, Timberlake and Fallon’s friendship bleeds into every sketch and skit the pair put together, with fans excited in equal parts for moments of hilarity and moments when the two make one another laugh. Watching people interact on screen who genuinely like one another is a comforting form of comedy, with the viewer feeling like they too are part of the bestie text chain.
AMY POEHLER AND TINA FEY
Both directly and indirectly, the success of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey has played a big role in paving the way for Broad City. As an early fan of the Broad City web series, and later an Executive Producer of the TV show, Poehler has lent her guidance and her name to Jacobson and Glazer, who only four years ago were unknowns in the TV world. First on SNL and later with their many award show hosting duties and films like Baby Mama and Sisters, Poehler and Fey proved, in various mediums, that a female comedy duo could not only be successful and groundbreaking, but—most importantly in the media—ratings gold. Jacobson and Glazer have built their brand in the same vein as Poehler and Fey by acting as hyper realized versions of themselves, providing views and creating scenarios that fans of all genders found not only hilarious, but ones they could also see themselves in.