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EW spends a day with Abbi and Ilana in 'Broad City'

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BROAD CITY
Comedy Central

Abbi and Ilana have lost their cell phones. Well, not really—they’ve purposely ditched them somewhere in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park after a misguided technological epiphany. But the girls’ Rollerblading quest through the park to locate their devices has exactly the kinds of plot elements that some might call classic Broad City: smartphones, Brooklyn, and two bumbling millennials trying to conquer their 20s in the city.

When it officially graduated from the Web to Comedy Central in January 2014, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s show became an overnight hit with both critics and the Tumblr crowd—who all have high hopes for the fast-tracked second season. “There’s this pressure that because people liked the first season we’ve got to elevate it now,” says Jacobson, 30, co-creator, star, and—as of season 2— co-showrunner with her partner in success, Glazer. “It’s funnier, it’s smarter, more hysterical, and more fun,” says Glazer, 27. “But we also just wanted to do more of what we did last year.”

The triumph of the first season has afforded the girls a few changes this time around. They’re now in control of their own writers’ room, which they’ve filled with card-carrying New Yorkers (“You have to have lived in New York—it’s just too hard otherwise,” reasons Jacobson) and real-life friends (“We play exaggerated versions of ourselves, and since the schedule is so fast, it jumps us up so much further ahead if they already know us”). The show’s budget has increased only slightly, but the bump is enough to let Jacobson and Glazer visit new locations for tales of New York horror, such as an upcoming bottle episode that takes place entirely on a booze cruise.

Even the guest-star requests have gotten more ambitious. “Last year, even though we went after our true motherf —ing heroes, it still felt like family because it was all comedians,” explains Glazer. “This year we went further out with people you wouldn’t expect to be on our show.” Among the chosen few: Seth Rogen as Abbi’s love interest and Kelly Ripa as herself.

If it sounds like Glazer and Jacobson are eager to expand Broad City‘s world, that’s because they’ve been waiting for the chance. When executive producer Amy Poehler offered to help adapt the duo’s 2009 Web series into a bigger-screen comedy, the show had to reintroduce its characters and retread some of the plot points that Jacobson and Glazer had created online. In season 2, there’s nowhere to go but forward. Glazer helpfully provides a metaphor for the show’s development: “If the first year was horizontal growth, planting seeds like Johnny Appleseed, this season is growing the roots into the ground. And season 3 will be the greens, which are important to the show, as you know.” (Glazer jokes that season 5 will be the show’s “slash-and-burn” phase.)

The pair promise that they’ve got an endless supply of stories to tell from their own experiences—as long as that other series about brassy New York City broads hasn’t already told them. “We’ll sit there in the writers’ room and think of an idea, then say, ‘Damn, that’s a Sex and the City episode,’ ” says Jacobson. “But there’s a whole technology shift that we reflect.” Case in point: Abbi and Ilana Rollerblading through Prospect Park looking for their cell phones. “A whole episode is about the fact that we’re addicted [to our phones], which would never have been a thing on Sex and the City,” says Glazer. “Although Miranda did have a TiVo obsession.”

The second season of Broad City premieres January 14 at 10:30 pm on Comedy CentralThis article appears in Entertainment Weekly‘s Jan. 9 issue.

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