Abbi Jacobson

Abbi Jacobson

As one of the creators, writers and breakout stars of the hit comedy series, "Broad City" (Comedy Central 2014-), Abbi Jacobson was part of a new generation of female comedy writers and performers who found success through their own creations. Along with her writing partner Ilana Glazer, the duo parlayed their 20-something experiences of being young, single and broke in New York City into a web series-turned-cable-comedy. Despite following other female-driven shows about singles in the big city, the series succeeds thanks to the duo's crackling onscreen chemistry and the outrageous yet rooted in reality story lines. Abbi Jacobson was born in the Philadelphia suburb of Wayne, Pennsylvania. While in high school, she briefly dabbled in acting, taking Saturday classes at the Walnut Street Theatre and the Actor's Center in Philadelphia, but it was the visual arts that would be her first creative pursuit. She left her home state to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she pursued a degree in fine arts and a minor in video, the latter of which would soon overshadow her art career. After graduating in 2006, Jacobson made the move to New York City to try her hand at dramatic acting, but quickly discovered that comedy was more her forte, after she learned about the comedy incubator Upright Citizens Brigade. Jacobson found her comedic voice in improv and sketch and trained with the Atlantic Acting Conservatory and the Magnet Theater in addition to the UCB. It was there that Abbi met her future writing partner, Ilana Glazer, when the two bonded as the only women in their improv group. What followed was the typical grind for struggling creatives. Their mindless and varied day jobs to pay the bills would become future plotlines of their comedy projects. After relentless auditioning, Jacobson still couldn't get a commercial agent, so she and Glazer decided the only way to break into the business was to create their own material. In 2009, they started a scripted web series based on their friendship called Broad City. With the help of their UCB friends, the crudely produced show eventually blossomed into an online hit. By 2011, the duo was finishing up their second season and had a pilot they were looking to shop around. In their pursuit to end the show's season with a bang, they asked one of their UCB teachers to see if UCB founder and one of its most famous alumni, Amy Poehler, would be a guest star on the show. Much to their surprise, Poehler said yes and even signed on to become the executive producer of the TV series. With a big name attached to the project, Jacobson and Glazer quit their jobs and flew to Los Angeles to pitch the series as a television show. While FX had originally taken interest, they eventually passed on the pilot until Comedy Central took up the reins and ordered ten episodes, which aired in 2014. Drawing heavily from their own experiences, the characters were based on exaggerated versions of themselves. With a strong background in improv, the two actresses played off each other in a loose form akin to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO 2000-2011). Despite drawing strong comparisons to "Girls" (HBO 2012-) - another show about millennials figuring things out in New York City - the show steered away from drama and over-analysis and stuck to the brash and absurd. The series featured a mix of big name comic talent like Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, Jason Mantzoukas, Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Dratch and locals from the New York comic community. Jacobson's TV debut turned out to be an impressionable one, and the series was renewed for a second season. In addition to her comedy career, she was also a talented visual artist and illustrated two coloring books for Chronicle Books in 2013, as well as the illustrated humor book Carry This Book (2016), which reached the New York Times bestseller list. Continuing her re-engagement with her fine arts background, Jacobson began the podcast "A Piece of Work" in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art and WNYC in 2017, in which she and her guests discussed various aspects and particular works of modern art. Also during this period, Jacobson appeared in a small role in comedy sequel "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" (2016) before co-starring in indie drama "Person to Person" (2017) and animated comedy "The Lego Ninjago Movie" (2017). Continuing in animation, Jacobson collaborated with Matt Groening on adult-oriented cartoon "Disenchantment" (Netflix 2018-), the story of an alcoholic fairy princess. In the fall of 2018, Jacobson published her second book, a collection of essays entitled I Might Regret This, written during a three-week cross-country road trip in 2017, following the breakup of her first serious relationship with another woman.