Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer already spilled the beans on Late Night with Seth Meyers that Hillary Clinton would be one of the many guest stars on the third season of their Comedy Central series. But from the stage of their SXSW panel this morning, they had another announcement: “Hillary Clinton’s episode is going to be this Wednesday,” Jacobson said, with a grin that proved that she herself wasn’t quite ready to believe the news.
The Hillary episode came about in a way that mirrors the history of Being John Malkovich (which Charlie Kaufman wrote before ever talking to Malkovich): The Broad City writers came up with the episode a year ago, never expecting Clinton would actually agree to be in it. “We got the idea that Ilana’s character would find the Hillary campaign in some way and be a part of it,” Jacobson said. “The episode doesn’t require Hillary.” They reached out through Comedy Central, one of their directors, and finally Broad City executive producer Amy Poehler, who has some ins from playing Clinton on Saturday Night Live. Poehler influence wielded, wheels were in motion. When they sent the campaign the script, Jacobson said, “The campaign was like, ‘Let’s go with that.’”
“Going from finding out she and her campaign wanted to do it, to filming it was really had to believe,” Glazer said. “We were like, let’s not get our expectations up,” Jacobson added.
Clinton’s appearance on the show isn’t a cameo like Whoopi Goldberg’s delightful Sister Act reprise earlier this season. Ilana’s work on the Hillary campaign, “That’s half the episode,” Jacobson said. And, as Jacobson told Meyers, once Clinton was on the set, “The scene is Abbi and Ilana freaking out meeting Hillary Clinton, so we just got to freak out. We freaked out super hard to her face.”
Later on, an audience member asked why the show was taking a stance for Hillary Clinton when it seems like the politics of their characters would be more aligned with Bernie Sanders. “I think that we were not trying to make a political statement. Our writing process is that we wrote season three a year ago, and we weren’t like — that’s not our show, really — ‘let’s make a political stance here.’ It’s really more that this is something that Ilana’s character would do,” Jacobson said. “And Hillary, even regardless of where we stand — and we love Hillary — Hillary is such an iconic figure. That’s someone that, being around someone like that, these girls being around her is not an everyday thing. That’s how we felt being around her. It was like, ‘Oh, this is a different world.’”
“Because she’s this icon,” Glazer went on. “We’re trying to make really good TV. I think you’ll watch the episode and think you’ll agree that it’s a great episode of TV.”
Other fun tidbits:
- In addition to Cynthia Nixon, Alan Alda, Rachel Dratch, and Tony Danza, both of the lead’s moms will be guest stars on the series.
- Glazer’s new Comedy Central series, “Time Traveling Bomb” will debut on 4/20 (heh) and is essentially, she said, about how “anyone who’s not a white dude can’t time travel and have a good time.”
- “I probably smoke or bake every day. And I’m very productive,” said Glazer. Jacobson says her best pot-smoking days are back in high school.
- Quote of the day: “The Internet is making everyone an millennial. It is the great equalizer,” Glazer said. “Quote it, print it, send it!” Jacobson said.
- The biggest cheer of the night, including from Abbi and Ilana, was for the audience member who stood up to tell them she works in marketing for Bed Bath & Beyond.