How the BROAD CITY Writers Make the Show So Funny

Yeah, we see the problem here, so just between us, if you don’t find BROAD CITY hilarious, you may not want to read on. OTOH, if you do jump into this article, you may find the actual methodology quite valid and worth exploring. (And, hey, if so, let us know, ‘kay?)

broad cityby Aly Weisman

With its second season [closing last] Wednesday night, Comedy Central’s “Broad City” has quickly become a cult favorite.

The show’s casual and off-the-cuff feel is part of the appeal, but behind-the-scenes there’s a long writing and production process before anything makes it onto the air.

“Writing is the first act of our three act experience of the show of acting, shooting, editing,” one of the show’s stars and creators, Ilana Glazer, tells Business Insider over the phone.

“It’s pretty stressful, the deadlines come quickly,” she adds, “but those deadlines actually make us feel like we’re running around Broad City, too. It has the same feeling of the show and we feel like the process of rushing to come up with good ideas for an outline and make it into a script, the process feeds the product.”

Despite the improv backgrounds of “Broad City” creators and stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the show is actually written by a whole team of writers.

“What it looks like is a room of writers who we came up with here [in NYC] in the comedy community, and we all come up together with these bigger concepts of what the episodes could be and we all kind of write every episode,” Glazer explains. “We come up with the outlines and a writer or a writing team may go off and write the script but I think the whole writers’ room is all over every episode.”

Adds Jacobson: “Yeah, because the script then comes back into the room and we all go over the script together. The whole process is very collaborative.”

And for the most part, all actors stick to the script.

“The show is very, very much scripted,” says Glazer. “We use some new little details in and out of scenes, but we do stick to our script a lot. Just in general, how it works on set is we do two or three scripted takes and then we say to the actor: ‘Okay, now just put it in your words, just so it feels natural.’ What we usually end up taking from people’s improv is flourishes people put on.”

Adds Glazer: “The way the shows feels very present and in the moment is exactly how we write it. Our No.1 goal is always the comedy and the funniest thing over other goals of like plot, or where they end up. I feel like we’re very much about the moment that the characters are in and what’s the funniest expression of their experience.”

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