Created by stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Broad City depicts the everyday adventures of Abbi and Ilana, two young girls living in New York City. The show was produced by Amy Poehler, who discovered the girls thanks to their original Broad City web series on Youtube.
With their wacky cast of side characters and the insane shenanigans the girls get into, the Comedy Central show is one of the weirdest and most wonderful comedies of our time.
Broad City practically mastered the art of world-building, creating running gags that tie the entire series together. Here’s the list of my favorite Broad City inside jokes that still make me laugh.
Abbi’s Blue Dress
In Season 1, Abbi needs a new dress to wear to a hot rooftop party Ilana scored an invite to. She finds The Blue Dress, and it’s perfect for the occasion, other than the fact that it costs over $400.
Abbi makes a snide comment to the cashier at the boutique, saying she’ll be back within the 30-day return window to get her money back. She clearly doesn’t return the dress though, since we see her wear the “investment” piece nearly every time she and Ilana step out on the town. Whenever she’s searching for the perfect outfit, she always ends up picking the blue dress.
Even Abbi’s mom (played by Frasier cast member Peri Gilpin) wears the dress in Season 4.
Lincoln Wants A Dog
Hannibal Burress plays Ilana’s sex friend Lincoln, a quirky dentist who accompanies the gals on many of their adventures. We see Lincoln hanging out at the dog shelter and making his way across the city to visit Ilana on her dog-walking gig. He loves dogs.
When Ilana asks Lincoln why he doesn’t just get a dog, he says:
Ilana eventually buys Lincoln a dachshund during her stint as a rich New York server. Being a dog dad is a lot different than being a dog uncle!
Abbi Trains Shania Twain
Abbi has a bad habit of coming up with lies in awkward situations to try and save face, and one of the most common fibs is that she trains celebrities like Shania Twain at Soulstice, the gym she works at.
In fact, she’s lied about training Shania Twain so many times that when the real Shania actually comes into Soulstice, Ilana doesn’t even believe Abbi.
Abbi really does get to train Shania, who offers love advice in return (all while coming up with lyrics to a great new love song). Man, I feel like a smoothie.
Ilana And The Linda Lodi Temp Agency
Ilana and Abbi are frequently looking for employment, and one of the places Ilana always looks when she’s down on her luck is the Linda Lodi Temp Agency.
Linda Lodi (Rachel Dratch) is pretty down on her luck too though—the temp agency is barely staying afloat, and every time she and Ilana meet her situation seems to have gotten worse. She even asks Ilana in one of their later encounters if she knows of any good jobs, to which Ilana replies “No… do you?”
It miiiiight be partly Ilana’s fault that Linda’s business is failing, since basically every temp job she’s worked has ended in catastrophe.
Abbi Isn’t Really Jewish
Both Abbi and Ilana are Jewish, but a running joke throughout the series is that Abbi isn’t actually Jewish. She is, but Ilana questions features like her perfect nose and Philadelphia roots when it comes to the real status of Abbi’s heritage. Abbi is Jew-ish, emphasis on the “ish,” according to Ilana.
Ilana frequently refers to Abbi as “a high-class WASP-y Jew” which only sounds slightly less offensive coming from her mouth.
Ilana Doesn’t Know How To Dress For Work
Ilana has a really hard time dressing for her job at Deals Deals Deals, an internet startup where she does pretty much nothing but sleep at her desk. Between her “Sophie’s choice” of pulling a small crop top up to cover her chest or down to cover her stomach, or the actual dog hoodie she wore, Ilana’s outfits are a constant source of controversy at the office.
Her most famous outfit is probably the unfortunately named White Power Suit. Although she spills meatballs on the lapel, the suit still fits, and she wears the outfit again, stains and all, to the boat party in Season 2.
Abbi’s Ridiculous Phone Calls
What? My laundry’s in the bag? Another of Abbi’s bad habits is using fake phone calls to get out of awkward situations—but she nearly always makes the situation more cringey.
There’s no better way to get out of work or a boring party than by accepting a phone call about urgent STI results. Except actually, there has to be a better way. My favorite use of this bit is when Abbi receives actual strange phone calls, because anyone who knows her thinks she’s just faking.
Bevers Isn’t Abbi’s Roommate
Abbi’s roommate is a lawyer named Melody—although we never actually see her throughout the show’s five seasons. Instead, we see Melody’s boyfriend Matty Bevers, who loves to lounge on the couch rent-free, hang out in Abbi’s room, and eat all her food.
Bevers and Abbi actually become sort of friends, much to Abbi’s dismay. One thing’s for sure, whenever Melody is supposed to show up to an event, Abbi won’t be able to find her anywhere. But Bevers will be there with bells on, ready to hang out with his best friend Abbi.
Label It On All Sides!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Broad City, it’s that you must label food on all sides if you don’t want anyone else to eat it.
Abbi learns this the hard way with Bevers as her “roommate,” since he loves to munch on whole blocks of cheese. Labeling one side of the package isn’t enough—you should really label all sides if you want people to know the food is off limits.
Ilana runs into a similar situation at the temp agency, where she snacks on a jar of candies that are meant to be used for a guessing game. It said so right on the jar, but it wasn’t labeled on all sides, so how was she supposed to know?!
Ilana Sings Through Her Daily Tasks
Ilana basically sings throughout her whole day—sometimes a gal needs a little motivational tune to get through boring tasks! She can sing a song about anything, but my favorite little ditty is the song she sings when she’s going to the bathroom.
Clearly she’s on to something, as guest star Vanessa Williams, appearing as an investor at Deals Deals Deals, sings while she shits too, and she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman/Maxxinista.
I’m Gonna Get You Back, Christina
This poor guy can’t catch a break in his love life! While we never learn his name or much of his story, this guy frequently hangs out at the same places as Abbi and Ilana. We frequently hear him on the phone, pleading with his ex to fix their relationship.
Abbi and Ilana even overhear their way into a private party at a nightclub thanks to this guy’s loud phone conversations.
Trey Is Kirk Steele
While perusing porn sites, Ilana stumbles across a gem: Abbi’s boss, Trey (Hacks writer and actor Paul W. Downs), actually starred in a porn before becoming a trainer at Soulstice. Using the pseudonym Kirk Steele, Trey donned frosted tips and a beach ball to create some of the most early-2000s porn you’ve ever seen.
Abbi confronts Trey for leverage at work, calling him “Kirk.” Trey clarifies:
Actually she’d only said Kirk, but that pretty much confirms it. That’s of course not the last time we hear of Kirk Steele, as the adult film is apparently pretty popular across all of NYC.
You can also find the Emmy-nominated companion web series, Hack Into Broad City, on Paramount+ and Prime Video.