Why Abbi Jacobson Wants to Keep Making “Inviting Work”
This Week on the Talk Easy Podcast with Sam Fragoso
Illustration by Krishna Bala Shenoi.
Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, authors, and politicians. It’s a podcast where people sound like people. New episodes air every Sunday, distributed by Pushkin Industries.
In this episode from August, we’re joined by Abbi Jacobson! We begin with her new series, A League of Their Own, the legacy of the 1992 film, her earliest comedic influences, moving to New York City post-college, falling in love with improv at UCB, the night she met Ilana Glazer, and a handful of memories creating Broad City.
On the back-half, Abbi tells the story behind her book I Might Regret This, how heartbreak brought her to Los Angeles, what she hopes her 60-year-old self looks like, and why she wants to continue making “inviting work.” To close, she tells us a love story.
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From the episode:
Sam Fragoso: At the end of your book, I Might Regret This, the 2017 version of you wrote a list of things they want for their future self. I thought maybe you’d read it, and then we can offer a revised version.
Abbi Jacobson: Okay, I’m going to actually preface this read—
Sam Fragoso: This is a preface before the epilogue.
Abbi Jacobson: It’s before the end of a chapter called Palm Springs, where I’m watching an older woman swim laps through a very crowded pool of young people partying.
Sam Fragoso: At the Ace Hotel?
Abbi Jacobson: At the Ace Hotel. I’m hanging on one side. It’s so hot, and I’m watching this woman with a swim cap and goggles step into this pool and completely disregard, in the most breathtaking way, what anyone else is doing in the pool—as if it’s empty. I sort of equate myself to her because no one seems to notice her swimming through the pool; I sort of ruminate on whether or not she’s me, and I am her, and I’m the only one witnessing her. The passage goes:
Let’s just say for a moment, she is me… I’m the courageous swimmer daring to do laps in the middle of a chaotic world (pool). If that is me in thirty years, I hope these things are true: I hope that I’m content, that there isn’t anger within those freestyle strokes… I hope I’m swimming for pleasure and health and not for some societal norm I’m trying to keep up with, like pant size. I hope my life is full of joy, full of adventure, full of love. I hope I’m able to share my life with someone, with others. I hope I’m comfortable in that bathing suit (good ones are hard to find… I hope I like myself, my choices, my gut instincts… I hope I’m a member of the community and take part in making the world I and others live in better. I hope I’m fulfilled creatively… I hope I don’t care what other people think of me.
It’s so cool to revisit the yearning of a younger version of yourself and then find yourself sort of where you hoped you’d be. It’s a good feeling.
Sam Fragoso: Now that you are where you are, what’s to yearn for?
Abbi Jacobson: I’m yearning to go a little deeper in all ways. I feel like I’m always in the middle of figuring myself out or feeling a little untethered. I don’t know if that’s part of my programming… but I still have that yearning that Ilana Glazer and I had. There are things I want to do, and most of them are challenging and new. I’m truly untrained at everything I’m successful at. In any illustrations I’ve done, like the ones in this book, I like showing the flaws. I really rely on my gut.
Abbi Jacobson is one of the series creators, executive producers, and stars of Comedy Central’s critically acclaimed hit show Broad City. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the illustrated book Carry This Book, and has also created two coloring books: Color This Book: New York City and Color This Book: San Francisco. She is the host of A Piece of Work, the Webby Award-winning podcast from the Museum of Modern Art and WNYC Studios.
Sam Fragoso is the host of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso, a weekly series of conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and NPR. After conducting seminal interviews with icons like Spike Lee, Werner Herzog, and Noam Chomsky, he independently founded Talk Easy in 2016.