If Abbi Jacobson isn’t already on your list of ‘people I want to be like’, she should be.
The actress stars on Broad City, lends her voice to BoJack Horseman and recently made an appearance in The Lego Ninjago Movie. In other words, she’s a comedy powerhouse. But being a comedian in 2018 – one of the most socially and politically charged years in recent memory – isn’t challenge-free. Women are already unfairly judged (thanks, sexism), and navigating the thin line between funny and side-eyes is harder than ever. Look at the backlash Tina Fey faced for her SNL cake bit. The key? Not caring too much what other people think.
Here, Abbi talks to Marie Claire about judgmental critics, the double standards for men and women in comedy, and why her role in The Lego Ninjago Movie meant so much to her.
On making comedy about serious social issues without accidentally undermining them:
‘It’s definitely something that we think about, just because Ilana Glazer and I really want [Broad City] to be extremely inclusive – so we’re trying to always have the backs of especially disenfranchised groups. We’re always trying to be really conscious of that. It’s also something we’re thinking about in our everyday lives.’
On learning not to care about pleasing everybody:
‘You can’t please everybody. It’s something I have to continually remind myself of – especially as the show is about to premiere. Everything is not for everybody, and that’s okay – that’s why there’s so much content. If someone doesn’t like it, I can’t really do much about it.’
On feminists criticising the wave of feminism that happened right before them, and the fear that this will happen to Broad City:
‘I can’t really think about it too much, or I don’t know how much I’d be able to create right now. Things inevitably evolve and change, but throughout the course of feminism evolving and changing, I’d like to think that all these writers and people are trying their best to comment on what’s going on in the world within their time, within their point of view.’
On the real issue here being that women get criticised for everything they do:
‘You have to be everything. Female-driven shows have to be every single thing, and are constantly criticised in a way that male-driven shows are not.’
On balancing roles that are straight-funny with roles that have feminist relevance:
‘It’s a little of both – I’m really proud to play my character [in Lego Ninjago], I feel like she’s an amazing role model not just for young girls, but to young boys. I would love to be at a place where a girl character can also be a role model for young boys. I have two nieces so I was excited to play a strong character.’
On conservative moms (who may not be her biggest fans) watching the movie:
‘I’m sure there are some moms who are not a fan of mine. But I think moms are pretty cool, and I think a ton of moms probably watch Broad City, so I think it might be cool that they get to go to the movies and have a familiar voice there. I love kids’ movies that get to operate on both levels.’