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If you’ve seen Broad City, you know Abbi and Illana let it all hang out.
The Comedy Central series follows the two best friends as they careen around NYC — getting high, being broke and trying to make it in the big city. It was created by UCB alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and produced by Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live.”
The show is raunchy, silly and very Not-Safe-For-Work. (This clip, however, is…)
But Abbi-the-person is different from Abbi-the-character … and Jacobson calls herself “an introvert masquerading as an extrovert.”
I think the heightened version of me in Broad City — and this is something I love about my job — is that I get to play all of the anxiety, fear, and nervousness physically. Abbi’s this blubbering idiot, and it’s so rare that someone rants all of this anxiety and fear out loud, so sometimes when they yell “cut!” I’m like, “what just happened?” No one really expresses all of their uncertainties and anxieties out loud like that, and I get to work some of that out through my character. I’m way more internalized in real life.
Jacobson explores those uncertainties and anxieties in a new book.
I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff is part-travelogue, part-autobiography and part-emotional support journal.
The book was the result of an intensely painful break up between Jacobson and her first love – who happened to be a woman.
“Being out of control in love is glorious. It’s the feeling I wish for everyone, the unleashing of joy. The dual-skydive of glee into this unknown world of possibility. It’s the closest thing we have to magic. But being out of control in heartbreak…? I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. It’s unnerving, it’s manic, it’s hopeless. It’s the most terrifying thing in the world for the person you love, who loves you back, to suddenly stop, to disappear, and not want to be in your life anymore. What do you do with that?
We talk to Jacobson about her book, her show and where the road she’s traveling will take her next.
Show produced by Avery Kleinman. Text by Paige Osburn.
- Abbi Jacobson Creator, Executive Producer and Actress, "Broad City" on Comedy Central; Author, "I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff"; @abbijacobson
Read an excerpt of "I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff"
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Before I make a decision, I tend to think about all the possible outcomes. I like to be prepared. This tendency unfortunately mainly includes obsessing over the ways in which things could go terribly of course, but it’s better to be informed. So, before embarking on a solo cross-country drive that I would then write about in a book, I made a list of possible worst-case scenarios. The road trip alone was terrifying, but writing about it afterward? A lot could go wrong. So, what’s the worst that could happen?
Heinous scenarios where I’m badly hurt or die that I won’t go into.
I adapt to eating only fast food while on the road and become someone who advocates for this new lifestyle. My politics change. I attend rallies for meat farms and even faster food. I go around encouraging people to stop caring, we’re all going to die anyways!
I become a car fanatic. I learn the lingo, up my horsepower, and create an Instagram account just for my cars. I become the young Jay Leno.
After having not spoken to anyone for three weeks, I lose my voice completely. I have to find a voice double to dub in my voice on every acting project, and one day, while on the subway home from work, I break down because I realize I’ll never become the singer I always dreamed.
I don’t make it to Los Angeles. I take a wrong turn and end up in a small town somewhere in the middle of New Mexico. My car runs out of gas, so I have to stay the night in the local motel. While wandering around town the next day, I stumble upon a little shack and see a “For Sale” sign out front. I buy it and decide that this is my new life. I meet a lady bartender when I go to her bar alone and play The The on the jukebox. She likes that band too and we spend the night together. She moves in almost immediately. Typical. I start to carve wood after seeing a local artisan carving wood in his garage and I become his apprentice. I’ve always wanted to try carving wood. We start the New Mexican chapter of the Competitive Dual Wood Carving Association (CDWCA for short) and beat anyone within a hundred-mile radius in the Annual Southwestern Carvers Competition (ASCC). Also, is dual wood carving a thing? Shouldn’t it be? I die next to my bartender, content, in our bed that I carved myself.
I get picked apart because driving across the country isn’t the best thing for the environment. Or because my almond consumption is exhausting water supplies, or anything else I’ve done or written about in this collection that is bad for the earth. I know. I know, I know. I’m a shit and I’m sorry. But what about the fact that half the country eats a fucking cheeseburger two times a week? What about that undeniable imprint and impact on the climate? We’re all monsters, including me and my almonds.
Everyone will be like, learn to draw hands already!
People read the book and think, “What is this crap? A privileged white woman writes about how she’s sad on her three-week vacation? Not for me.” I am those things, and I did exactly that. I’m in no way denying how completely insane it is that I get to take off work for three weeks and drive around the country and then write about it…as more work. My life is bizarre and confusing to me as well.
Even though the book will be copyedited and proofread, my terrible grammar and lack of sophisticated vocabulary will shine through.
No one buys the book! If no one buys the book, the publisher could make me buy all the copies and I’ll have to fill my apartment with books. I guess I could create furniture out of the books, piling them up like a sofa. I could throw pillows on top. I’ve had some time to think about this, and I could really make it work. Maybe my home, with its furniture completely built from my failed, unbought books, would make it into Architectural Digest? They’d come and take pictures and run a whole article about it. Who knows what could happen then!?
I’ll get called out for not listening to the right albums, for playing the wrong podcasts, for not queuing up the most perfect playlist for the entire trip . . . I did my best.
All the pages somehow get numbered incorrectly!
I write about what it was like for me to fall in love with a woman and how I was clobbered when it ended and then I get banished from Hollywood! I’ll never be the starlet I’ve always dreamed of, falling in love with Prince Charming on screen. FUCK THAT BULLSHIT. I can fall in love with Prince Charming or Princess Charming because Hollywood is changing. Anyone who only wants to watch the standard narrative better start collecting VHS tapes, because we’re changing things. I want to be a part of telling real, more diverse love stories, ones I haven’t seen on screen before.
That ultimately I’m admitting that I’m scared of being alone. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that…the main thing? Aren’t we all secretly terrified that we’re not understood, not seen, not loved, not wanted? Okay, great, cleared that up.
Excerpted from the book I MIGHT REGRET THIS: ESSAYS, DRAWINGS, VULNERABILITIES, AND OTHER STUFF by Abbi Jacobson. Copyright © 2018 by Abbi Jacobson. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
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