Arts & Culture » Culture

Ilana Glazer talks stand-up tour, fighting Trump, and seeing America



As co-creator of Comedy Central's hit show Broad City, Ilana Glazer says she knew it was going to be a success back when it was an independently produced web series she started in 2009.

"Even when we were doing the web series, I knew people were going to be into it," Glazer says by phone. "There was just something so relatable about it, and I think I just knew that people were going to get it."

If Glazer hasn't started playing the lottery she may want to start now because the show she created and stars in with real-life BFF Abbi Jacobson became a smash hit after its first season on Comedy Central aired in 2014. The Guardian applauded the show's way of making the lead characters "exhibit imperfections without the self-loathing" and The A.V. Club raved about how Glazer and Jacobson "presents a recognizable, recognizably hilarious perspective on what trying-but-failing looks like from the inside."

Now four seasons deep into the Broad City world, the fictional characters Abbi and Ilana have tried "pegging," (Google it), tripped on mushrooms, and unashamedly smoked so much weed and had so much casual sex that it will make you want to relive your 20s all over again.

And Glazer and Jacobson's stars have continued to rise. Jacobson has had guest starring roles in Neighbors 2, Portlandia, and has launched her own art-focused podcast called A Piece of Work. Glazer recently starred in this past summer's Rough Night alongside Scarlett Johansson, and is hitting the road this fall with fellow comedian Phoebe Robinson for the "YQY Comedy Tour" (that's "Yas Queen Yas"), which makes a stop in Detroit on Nov. 7.

Robinson's comedy is very similar to Glazer's in that she also does partner work: Robinson is the co-creator of the highly popular podcast 2 Dope Queens alongside former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams.

"My work has always been in partnership with Abbi," Glazer says. "Abbi really likes to perform, do improv, where my comedy style really started with stand-up, just like Phoebe's did. Phoebe is just so fearless and hella-down and I get nervous all by myself sometimes. It's also just amazing that I can use comedy as a vehicle to see America. So much of my time recently has just been traveling from coast to coast, L.A. to New York, and especially after this election we just want to get into these cities and see these people who are like-minded. We just want to bring some comedic relief and energy."

Glazer and Robinson have a longstanding friendship (they worked on a podcast together called Sooo Many White Guys), and Glazer is also producing a show that Robinson is developing for Amazon.

The day we interview Glazer, she posted an Instagram story of herself calling a state rep to help deal with a father who was facing deportation because of Trump's DACA changes. It's a cause she is committed to.

"Trump can say racist shit and propose racist policy, but when you actually see how this affects people's lives and how it's ripping apart people's families, it's just heartbreaking," she says. "I have this platform now and I try really hard to speak out against him and the shit he is doing."

While we can assume that there will be plenty of Trump jokes at the duo's show, (Broad City made headlines before the season four premiere when they announced that they would bleep out every instance of Trump's name) fans can expect the same wackiness and weirdness that Glazer and Robinson bring to their respective forums.

"It's gonna be feminist as fuck," says Glazer with a little laugh.

The YQY Comedy Tour comes Tuesday, Nov. 7 to the Masonic Temple; 500 Temple St., Detroit; 313-832-7100;; Doors at 9:30 p.m.; Tickets start at $25.

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