Parting Shot Abbi Jacobson


it’s been said that comedy is harder than drama, which helps

explain why so many comedians, from Steve Martin to Kristen Wiig, have aced dramatic roles. With the indie film 6 Balloons, now on Netflix, you can add Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson to the list. First-time director Marja-lewis Ryan’s merciless look at the cost of enabling someone you love stars Jacobson as Katie, a young woman desperate to keep her backslidin­g addict brother Seth (Dave Franco) from relapsing again. “It was a challenge to internaliz­e all the emotions Katie has bottled up,” says Jacobson, who gives a revelatory performanc­e, conveying years of entrenched anxiety, often with just body language.

The weirdly sweet Broad City— back for Season 5 later this year—is based on the voracious friendship between Jacobson and co-creator Ilana Glazer. Like TV “Abbi,” Jacobson is a self-deprecatin­g sometime illustrato­r who loves comedy. So while she enjoyed the challenge of a role “that really scared me,” she’ll stick to funny for the near future. As long as Donald Trump’s in charge, she says, “I need to escape.”

What attracted you to 6 Balloons?

I thought the script was beautiful, and I related to the character. Not in terms of her speci c situation, but I’m from the suburbs of Philly, and the town I grew up in was very affected by the opioid epidemic. I knew a lot of people who overdosed.

Even though it’s a serious role, you bring a lot of comedy to Katie—similar to Abbi’s humor on Broad City.

My favorite dramatic movies have moments of levity. You’re more in the story when you see the full person. Weirdly, I think Katie is more like me in real life. She is constantly playing this duality—on the one hand, “Everything’s under control!” but there’s anxiety looming. In my day-to-day life, constant chaos is where I’m most comfortabl­e. So that resonated with me. Also, the movie takes place over one night, which I’m used to doing on Broad City, where each episode covers 24 hours.

Abbi hit a real low in Season 4. It was sometimes hard to watch!

[ Laughs.] You know, “Abbi” is known for hitting those lows, but highs are coming. We’ve been writing these characters we love, and they’ve been in a state of nongrowth for a couple seasons. Now, we’re asking, “What’s changing?” Abbi will start dating someone, career moves will happen—there’s growth in Season 5. — Anna Menta

“In my day-to-day life, constant chaos is where I’m most comfortabl­e.”

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