“There’s still like seven seats open, you guys can totally come down here!” joked Seth Rogen, addressing online viewers watching via a livestream feed. Considering that the panel the Neighbors star was moderating Sunday night was one of the hottest tickets of this year’s New York Comedy Festival, however, people were practically sitting in the Paley Center’s aisles by the time he brought out the event’s guests. “Id Isn’t Always Pretty: An Evening With Broad City” offered folks a chance to hear the show’s stars/creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, producer Amy Poehler and director Lucia Aniello talk about the evolution of their hit Comedy Central series. The fact that both Glazer and Jacobson got the same amount of rabid hollering and deafening applause when they walked on stage as the Parks & Recreation veteran attested to how far these two comedians have come in the past year. Last January, maybe a handful of folks might have recognized the duo from their funky Web series; now, they’re both bona fide comedy stars.
As a moderator, Rogen kept things loose and informal, vowing to ask “questions that I should have asked you guys as human beings years ago, but I’m an asshole.” (Rogen is set to guest star in the show’s second season, he confirmed, as one of Abbi’s love interests; he shows up briefly at the end of the Season Two trailer as she yells at a kitten.) He coaxed Jacobson into talking about her early days in New York, trying to find her way in the theater world until she caught an improv show at the Upright Citizens Brigade and realized “this is what I want to be doing.” Glazer, a self-proclaimed comedy nerd, recounted how her discovery of Upright and the TV show Stella made her realize “there was a whole world of [New York] comedy outside of SNL,” which inspired her to take classes at UCB. The two met in 2007 and claimed they later started making online shorts just so they had something to show their parents; as they were wrapping up their second Web-series season in 2011, they wrote Poehler a letter “full of disclaimers and lots of outs” asking her to guest star in their last episode. “They were filming just around the corner from my house,” Poehler joked. “That was the clincher.”
Once the Parks and Rec star started helping Glazer and Jacobson develop their Web series as a TV show, Poehler admitted that they’d originally taken Broad City to another network. “Yeah, IFC really blew it,” she said bitterly, before being corrected by her co-panelists. “I’m sorry, FX! It was FX, they had it for a minute and couldn’t quite crack it…IFC remains in my good graces.” Since Poehler still had connections from her days doing the Upright Citizens Brigade TV sketch show on Comedy Central, she took the show there and “we found our home.”
Teasing the show’s second season, which returns in January, the team hinted that Ilana may be exploring her more sapphic impulses (“She goes on a journey,” Poehler says, before cryptically adding “to the other side!”); that there will be a host of famous faces dropping by in addition to Rogen; fans of the show’s drug-related humor “won’t be disappointed”; and that everyone’s favorite supporting characters from Season One will indeed be returning, including Hannibal Buress’ lovelorn dentist and frustrated Ilana-fuck-buddy, Lincoln. “I ran into Hannibal recently and told him I was going to be on the show playing a hook-up,” Rogen said. “He gave me a funny look and asked: ‘Are you hooking up with Ilana or Abbi?'” When the actor told him that he was a romantic interest for Abbi, he recounted the reply in a pitch-perfect Buress deadpan: “Even though this is not real, I still would have been jealous.”
The event ended with a lengthy Q&A session between the crowd and the Broad City crew, as audience members praised Jacobson and Glazer for portraying realistic female friendships on TV and treating female sexuality as if it’s just a fact of life instead of special-episode fodder. “Look, sex happens,” Poehler said. “Sometimes it’s not even the biggest part of your day.” The highlight came when they were asked what their life mottos are, at which point the panel brought out their comic A-game. Seth made a callback to Poehler’s earlier, affectionately awkward analogy about a Web series being like a heart transplant; Lucia said that, “Regarding plastic surgery: refresh, don’t redo”; Abbi offered some time-tested advice to “Stretch — before and after”; Ilana went momentarily sincere and paraphrased James Taylor with, “Tell people you love that you love them”; and Poehler capped everything off by glaring at the audience and reciting the Golden Rule — “Snitches get stitches.”