2014 is here, and what better way to kick off the new year than with a Featured Artist in Action blog post…or, rather, Artists in Action. This time around we’re talking with two of the funniest comedians around — UCB alums Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of knowing these ladies for years, as both have taken the Path Class. In the time since, I’ve seen them pour their hard work and passion into their hilarious web series, Broad City, which has gone from having a very dedicated cult following to getting picked up by Comedy Central (and produced by fellow UCB-alum, Amy Poehler!). The first season of Broad City on Comedy Central premieres on January 22, but before you become hooked, check out what Ilana and Abbi had to say about their Path experience and how they’ve gotten to where they are.
When you first started working with Capes Coaching, what were your goals?
Abbi Jacobson: When I took the Path class my main goals were to try and get more auditions, be more confident, and to start really treating my career more seriously.
Ilana Glazer: My goals pointed toward time management and completing writing projects. I had 3 or 4 projects that I planned seasonal successes for — some under my control and others that felt more out of my hands. Taking the time to do the planning for those “out of my hands”projects, though, forced me to prepare for opportunities that might come my way.
What have you accomplished since then?
AJ: Since then (I took Path in Fall of 2009) I’ve created and released 2 web seasons of Broad City with Ilana; my solo show, Welcome To Camp, ran at UCB in NYC and LA; I’ve booked a few commercials; I’ve joined the WGA and SAG/Aftra; and, most importantly, Broad City is now a TV show that I get to write, act in and produce.
What was the most valuable thing you learned from the taking the Path Class?
IG: This is not the thing, but: the Path Class has this very cool, very human understanding that you can plan to get from point A to point B, but you may end up in some place you never expected, or you may take a detour that gets you to some other great place. The point is — plan and prepare for greatness, and you’ll find it some way. But the Path Class actually does accomplish specifically what it sets out to do, every single class — empower artists to create their own path and to know that their career is in their hands. That was the most valuable thing I learned — THE #1 thing!
AJ: I think for me it was the real shift in mentality. After taking Path, I realized I just had to make things happen and that it was really up to me. That can also be very daunting, but it’s a relief to know that you have control and power over your creativity and your career.
What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
IG: My biggest career challenge, still, is managing simultaneous projects but being present with each one. This is a LIFE challenge for me, actually. But the best and most palatable work, I find, comes from genuine fun creation. What helps me overcoming this is outlining my goals and progress — on paper or computer is preferred, but sometimes it’s just thinking about it.
AJ: I think before Broad City I was always doubting myself. Nothing was really happening for me — I just wasn’t confident in my voice in anything. It’s a constant struggle for me to be confident in myself and my skills in writing and performing, but at a certain point you have to just stop thinking about it and just keep doing it as much as you can. I still doubt stuff all the time, but that’s just part of my process and I think it actually make the end result a lot better.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
AJ: There are many many ways to be successful and satisfied in this industry. It doesn’t happen the same way for everyone. When I took The Path class, I was still in the mentality that getting on a house team at the theatre was the way, the only way to get seen and heard. There are so many ways and if you find your own way it can take you places you never could have imagined.
IG: Nothing. I would say “to have more fun,” but it’s not possible. Coming up in the comedy community has been the most rewarding and identity-validating experience of my life, from the very beginning. This even includes bombing on stage.
What are you currently working on?
IG: A few projects with different mediums. I really want to experience as many factions of this industry as I can. I still can’t believe it’s a potentially viable career choice, entertainment, and I’m curious about it all.
AJ: Broad City is premiering on Weds. January 22, so I’m obviously so thrilled about that. We’re still working on that right now, in the edit everyday and finding music, etc. I also recently put out another web series called Annie and Side of Fries that is part of a larger show concept about a development built for divorced dads.
Wanna hear more from Ilana and Abbi? Check out their Smart Girls interview with Amy Poehler: