The Comedy Central miniseries debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Time Traveling Bong

The following piece contains spoilers about Time Traveling Bong.

Michael Jackson is the only real-life historical figure Ilana Glazer and Paul W. Downs encounter during Time Traveling Bong. But in an alternate timeline, the duo, who play Sharee and Jeff, stoner cousins from New Jersey on the miniseries, could have inadvertently broken up Bill and Hillary Clinton before they even became a couple.

As Glazer, Downs, and director Lucia Aniello explained following the miniseries’ premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday afternoon, the Clintons were once part of the time-travel adventure’s development process, at the center of a short set at Yale University during the 1970s.

“They encounter young Bill Clinton, who’s like, ‘I smell weed. Who’s toking?'” Aniello said. What followed would have been a callback to Back to the Future, with the Clintons filling in for Marty McFly’s parents.

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“They get him really high, he accidentally forgets he has his first date with Hillary,” Aniello said. That keeps the Clintons apart, forcing Sharee and Jeff to get them back together.

“We had that in the script for a while, and Comedy Central was like, ‘Uh, nah,'” Glazer said. She added that they were going to release the short on the Internet but decided Hillary Clinton had enough visibility. “She’s out there,” Downs joked. (Indeed, even on Comedy Central, where Hillary Clinton made a high-profile cameo appearance earlier this year on Broad City.)

In the Clintons’ place, Jackson was added — at the suggestion of Glazer’s Broad City co-creator and costar, Abbi Jacobson. “Abbi actually pitched it a long time ago,” Glazer said of Jackson’s inclusion in Time Traveling Bong, which Glazer, Downs, and Aniello had discussed making even before Broad City exploded on Comedy Central (they made a short for College Humor in 2012). “We would save a young Michael Jackson from his childhood.”

Which is what happens, with mostly disastrous results. After running into Jackson and his family while walking down the street in 1963 America, the cousins decide to kidnap the 8-year-old boy to raise as their own.

“We didn’t want to make it Bill and Ted, where we meet historical figures all the time. So this was a cool way to play with somebody who was a historical figure, but also his 8-year-old self,” Downs said of the Jackson interaction, one of many set pieces in Time Traveling Bong that will likely have audiences debating the actions of Sharee and Jeff.

“I love that one too, because I could talk about it for hours,” Glazer said. “I’m still like, ‘Would I do what we did?'”

Viewers can answer that question for themselves when Time Traveling Bong, a three-night event, makes its debut Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

Time Traveling Bong
  • TV Show