At Home With Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson

by Grace Bonney

If there’s one thing I currently love more than design, it’s comedy. Over the past few years, I’ve started listening to comedy albums and following comedians online with the same fervency that I once applied to bands alone. I’ve been so impressed by the amazing female comics I’ve been watching lately that I wanted to reach out to two of my favorites and include them in our new interview series, At Home With. Today I’m thrilled to share a two-part interview with the creators and stars of my favorite web comedy series, Broad City. If you haven’t watched Broad City, please do yourself a favor and click play below (warning: some parts NSFW). I dare you not to lose it at 4:21. These women are hilarious.

Today we’re kicking things off with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson. Abbi is not only an amazing writer and comedienne, she’s also an incredibly talented artist and graduate of MICA. She was kind enough to let us visit her West Village apartment and talk about some of her favorite parts of home and what she loves about her neighborhood (though I think her stories of pie-in-face comedy bits with her grandfather are my favorite). Thanks again to Abbi for talking with me, and I hope you’ll enjoy her interview (and home) as much as I did.

All photographs above and below by Jennifer Causey

The full interview and more photos continue after the jump . . .

Design*Sponge: What do you love most your home (or coming home)?

Abbi Jacobson: I love having a little place to call my own. It’s not huge, but it’s the perfect size for me and allows me to have a little workspace that I really feel comfortable in. The space itself has a lot of character — moldings, archways and French doors, which drew me to it. The apartment is quiet and gets great light during the day, and I feel like it’s a really peaceful place to be and work.

D*S: Please tell us about the room in which you were photographed. What are some of the most meaningful pieces in here and why?

AJ: My bedroom is my favorite spot in the apartment — and it’s most of the apartment! I found this old school map in a flea market on 24th street, probably like three years ago. When I moved in here, I knew I wanted that behind the bed, and my dad helped me devise the best way to hang that puppy up. I don’t have a ton of furniture, but what I do have means a lot to me. My nightstand and the ottoman I keep in front of my bed were my grandmother’s. My yellow chair, my mom and I found in Brooklyn on Atlantic Ave., and my dresser is my newest purchase. I love the simplicity of it and how it perfectly fits below my books.

My workspace is a really important area as it’s where I spend most of my time. I decided to get cork boards, obviously not for design purposes, but because that makes me most efficient. I suppose this area is my attempt to be efficient and productive, while being a well-designed, fun space where I’m surrounded by things that inspire me like my books, my art supplies, etc.

D*S: What are your favorite local spots to shop, eat or just be inspired?

AJ: I just moved to Greenwich Village five months ago, so although I know the area a bit, I’m slowly finding my favorite spots. I write a lot in coffee shops when I feel like I’ve been in the apt. for too long, and my normal go-tos in the ‘hood are: S’Nice (Sulivan below Houston), Grounded (Jane at 8th), and Vagabond Cafe (Cornelia at 4th). I keep going to Juice Generation on W. 4th . . . regardless of how hard I try to avoid it. Some of my favorite food in the area: Westville, Aria, Snack Taverna and, of course, Artichoke’s Margarita Pizza is my worst enemy.

D*S: The best part about your neighborhood is _________.

AJ: That it has a great energy — something is always going on.

D*S: Who are some of your favorite comedic influences, past and present?

AJ: I was really influenced by SNL growing up. Some people, in no particular order, who have had an influence on me comedically: Gilda Radner, Roseanne, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Mike Meyers, Amy Poehler, obviously, Tina Fey, Louis CK . . . I also love people like Alan Ball, Mitch Hurwitz, and Spike Jonze. I’m also really influenced by my peers right now — so much amazing work coming out of UCB. I’m saying too many! The list could go on forever!

D*S: What was your first comedy (live or otherwise) memory?

AJ: My grandfather and I used to plan these bits where he would push my face into pies and cakes . . . or whatever dessert we were having. I was very little and just thought it was the funniest thing.

D*S: What was your most significant recent comedic memory or experience?

AJ: Ilana and I have been putting up “Broad City Live!” at UCB once a month for the past few months. Each show is very different, and we’re always really nervous before, as it is a little risky — no set structure and it’s just us having these ideas and doing them. A few months ago we did our “Bucketlist Show,” where we shared some of our lists and then we asked the audience, and there was a point where there was this special moment where members of the audience were honestly sharing these grand dreams of theirs — it was so funny, and I just remembered how special and personal comedy can be.

D*S: What was the first skit you ever wrote or performed in?

AJ: I was my 8th grade homeroom’s student council representative, and I would deliver the reports as Linda Richman. It was completely ridiculous, and I have no idea how it started or why my teacher let it continue . . . but I did it for the whole year.

D*S: What are you reading/watching/listening to/loving right now?

AJ: Right now I’m reading two books: Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks Into a Bar and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I really like both!

I’m watching Game of Thrones! Girls! Veep!

Spotify YO! But I mostly listen to a ridiculously overplayed mix of old-school jams.

D*S: What do you hope people feel when (or take away from) watching Broad City?

AJ: Basically, I think our main goal with Broad City, onscreen and live, is for the audience to have fun. To have as much fun as possible with us. I hope people relate to the characters and want to go on adventures with them. I hope they take away a little slice of New York, and this specific POV on this wonderful city.

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