10 Fun Facts About Broad City

Comedy Central
Comedy Central

What began as a YouTube web series has morphed into a comedic phenomenon. Broad City began its life in 2009 as a short web series on YouTube, starring Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) alumnae Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. When the ladies decided to take the show to network, Amy Poehler, who co-founded UCB, agreed to executive produce. In 2011, FX commissioned a pilot—Abbi’s and Ilana’s names were almost Ali and Eliza, or Carly and Evelyn—but ended up passing; Comedy Central picked it up, and the show premiered on January 22, 2014.

Broad City features versions of Abbi and Ilana (last names Abrams and Wexler, respectively), and their crazy adventures navigating New York City, much of which is based on their own real-life experiences—including Deals Deals Deals. In anticipation of the series' fourth season, which premieres on September 13, here are 10 fun facts about the crass female-friendship sitcom.

1. ABBI JACOBSON THOUGHT ILANA GLAZER WAS ALIA SHAWKAT FROM ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

Jacobson and Glazer met while working together on an improv practice team at UCB. Jacobson told The New York Times that before they met, Jacobson thought Glazer was Alia Shawkat, the actress who played Maeby Fünke on Arrested Development.

"After the first night of practice, we go to a bar and we’re talking about where we’re from, and it turns out she knew two of my best friends from college,” Jacobson recalled. “And in that moment, I was just like ... this is not Maeby anymore. I would know if my friends were friends with Maeby. We really hit it off immediately; I was just like trying to become friends with Maeby, and then I thought, I’ll just stay friends with this girl.”

2. THEY UPSET WHOLE FOODS.

In the series' third season, Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) extracts Abbi’s wisdom teeth. Ilana gets her hopped up on a weed s’more milkshake called a Firecracker. High as a kite, Abbi wanders off to a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, where she hallucinates that her stuffed animal friend, Bingo Bronson, is life-sized and is egging her to buy expensive items, like manuka honey. During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the women said they pestered Whole Foods on Twitter until they let them film there.

“It had to be Whole Foods,” Jacobson said. Whole Foods granted their wish. Turns out, they weren’t offended about the hallucination. “They cared about us truly naming the price of their manuka honey,” Glazer said. “The true price!” Abbi ends up spending a whopping $1487.56 at the store—part of that on manuka honey.

3. THE SHOW IS HAPPY TO USE BARS TO BLUR OUT NUDITY.

Occasionally, the women appear nude on the show. But unlike Lena Dunham on Girls, Jacobson and Glazer use blur bars to cover up their nether regions. “Lena Dunham is awesome,” Glazer told New York Magazine. “I love seeing her body on TV. Lena is like a vessel for the message that normal bodies are so beautiful and sexy and powerful. But I don’t think we would be that brave to be that vessel, even though you still, like, get that and people are like, ‘Wow, they’re not bony!’ Lena’s isn’t for a joke, you know? Ours is always for a joke. We’re very grateful for those blurs. So grateful.”

4. HILLARY CLINTON’S APPEARANCE WAS A POLITICAL STATEMENT.

In a March 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jacobson said that Hillary Clinton's cameo on the show, in which she played herself, wasn’t supposed to be a political statement—but then she backtracked.

“Of course it’s a political statement!” Jacobson told The New York Times in October 2016. “For us, it felt like we were justifying our show in a different way—it felt historic.” The episode was written a year before it aired, when there weren’t other political candidates.

This season, though, the ladies will make yet another political statement when they’ll bleep out the word “Trump.” “It, like, sounds so gross, like every day saying it so many times, and we just didn't want to share air time,” Glazer explained.

5. SOULSTICE IS BASED ON A REAL GYM.

One of Jacobson’s odd jobs was handing out flyers for an Equinox gym, near Grand Central Terminal. “I didn’t even get paid, it was just a membership,” Jacobson told TIME. “But at the time I was like ‘this is amazing!’” At least Jacobson didn’t have to clean up gym vomit like her fictional character did.

6. JAIMÉ'S ACCENT ISN'T REAL.


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Arturo Castro plays Ilana’s gay, weed-dealing Venezuelan roommate Jaimé on the show, but is none of those things in real life. “Sometimes people are a little bummed that I don’t actually talk like Jaimé,” Castro told People. “When I see their faces drop I try to put it on for like a second. And then my girlfriend is like, ‘What are you doing?’”

Castro told The Daily Beast people are also surprised he doesn’t sell marijuana. “This guy came up to me in Bryant Park and he was like: ‘Dude, you don’t have an accent?’ and then, ‘So you don’t sell weed either?’ He was really disappointed and walked away.”

7. GLAZER DIDN’T WANT HER BROTHER WRITING FOR THE SHOW.

Glazer’s brother, Eliot, wanted to write for the show but his sister thought “it would be too close for comfort,” he told The New Yorker. “It was a source of tension for a while.” Eliot eventually appeared on five episodes of Broad City as Ilana’s brother, and went on to write for New Girl and Younger.

8. LIKE ABBI ABRAMS, ABBI JACOBSON IS AN ARTIST.


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When art-school grad Jacobson first moved to New York City, she sold greeting cards throughout the city. As she told The Huffington Post, she sold them on the streets and tried to get them into the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). “I was really hustling with that, trying to get a big retail store to want them, but it never panned out,” she said. Some of her artwork is displayed in the show, and last year she released an illustrated book called Carry This Book, which became a New York Times bestseller. She also hosts the podcast “A Piece of Work,” co-produced by MoMA.

9. TREY STARTED OUT IN PORN BECAUSE HE WAS A FAILED ACTOR.

Near the end of season two, Trey—Abbi’s boss at Soulstice/love interest—revealed he starred in soft-core porn under the name Kirk Steele. Paul W. Downs plays Trey and is one of the writers and producers of the show (he also dates and collaborates with Broad City director Lucia Aniello). “In the initial script, he got into porn because he was trying to make it as an actor/model/host,” Downs told Vulture. “Then he hit rock bottom after not getting a Kirkland Signature campaign … But as you saw, it was just soft-core porn, you didn’t get anything hard-core. Yeah, probably the most—I guess entry-level for porn?”

10. GLAZER AND JACOBSON DON'T SMOKE WHILE THEY'RE WORKING.


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On the show, Glazer and Jacobson can frequently be found indulging in marijuana, but fans shouldn’t expect the stars to smoke with them. “Giving us a joint is one thing—I’m like, ‘Thank you soooo much,’” Glazer told New York Magazine. But Jacobson insisted they can’t work while stoned. “But when ­people want to smoke with us? Everyone thinks we smoke in the writers’ room,” she said. “It’s like, we would never be able to do anything high!”

7 Fast Facts About RollerCoaster Tycoon

Amazon
Amazon

For Windows gamers, 1999 was dominated by RollerCoaster Tycoon, a now-classic strategy and building game that tasked users with erecting an amusement park and gauging the popularity of rides while maintaining a profit margin and keeping patrons from barfing all over the landscape. For the game’s 20th anniversary, check out some facts about its origins, its association with pizza, and how it became a pinball machine.

1. The first RollerCoaster Tycoon sold 4 million copies.

RollerCoaster Tycoon was the brainchild of Scottish programmer Chris Sawyer, who had enjoyed success with his line of Transport Tycoon games in the 1990s that allowed players to build and operate their own railroad, truck, and ship lines. Sawyer decided to marry that concept with his love of roller coasters. An independent effort—Sawyer enlisted only two collaborators, artist Simon Foster and musician Allister Brimble—the first Tycoon game that was released in 1999 sold a staggering 4 million copies.

2. RollerCoaster Tycoon came free with frozen pizza.

In the early 2000s, packaged food companies offered products that came with promotional offers for CD-ROMs. In 2003, Pillsbury offered a free copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon to anyone who sent in proof of purchase barcodes from specially-marked boxes of Totino’s Pizza Rolls or Pillsbury Toaster Strudel.

3. There’s a RollerCoaster Tycoon pinball machine.

A pinball machine released to coincide with 2002’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 took the spiraling coasters of the game and put them under glass. Players could try and direct the pinball—a substitute for the park guest—around and through coasters like The Flying Ghost and The Rocket.

4. RollerCoaster Tycoon helped inspire Minecraft.

If you or a loved one has spent countless hours absorbed in the popular world-building game Minecraft, you have RollerCoaster Tycoon to thank. Minecraft creator Markus Persson was a fan of Tycoon for the way it allowed players to construct elaborate designs. He also enjoyed Dungeon Keeper, which had a fantasy element. Together, the two games encouraged him to develop Minecraft. The game debuted in 2009 and went on to become one of the biggest interactive success stories of all time.

5. RollerCoaster Tycoon inspired real roller coaster designers.

The laborious construction undertaken by players of RollerCoaster Tycoon weaned a number of players on the excitement of the amusement industry. Park designers hoping to break into the industry have used screen shots from the game as examples of their design prowess at trade shows.

6. You can get a spooky update of RollerCoaster Tycoon in time for Halloween.

Atari distributes an Android and iOS version of RollerCoaster Tycoon for mobile phone users. For 2019, the company is offering a Six Flags Fright Fest update to the game that adds a Halloween component. Players can add Skull Mountain, an actual Six Flags coaster, as well as a Demon Rock statue.

7. A RollerCoaster Tycoon fan spent 10 years building a park.

In 2017, a Reddit user declared he was finished building out his own custom park on RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. The 34 coasters and 255 attractions were all minutely detailed, offering a sprawling virtual park with themed areas covering everything from Egyptian attractions to a forest. In comparison, it took only four years to build the actual Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

10 Wild Scooby-Doo Fan Theories

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

For 50 years, the hard-working teens (and dog) of Mystery, Inc. have been investigating the paranormal. What began as a single Hanna-Barbera cartoon series—Scooby Doo, Where Are You!—in the 1960s quickly morphed into a franchise with multiple spin-off shows, comic books, and a few questionable movies. That adds up to a lot of spooky stories, which have inspired fans to come up with their own creepy (or just plain crazed) tales about Scooby and the gang. Here are some of their best theories, including one that somehow connects to Patrick Stewart.

1. Scooby is a Soviet space dog.

For all the cases that Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy solved, they never got to the bottom of the show’s most enduring mystery: How and why does Scooby Doo talk? Some fans think he can’t really speak—that it’s just something his buddy Shaggy imagines while he’s high. But one Redditor has a much more complicated and compelling theory based on the show’s 1960s setting. At that time, America and the USSR were locked in the so-called “Space Race,” competing to see who could claim the first achievements in spaceflight. The Russians famously shot Yuri Gagarin into the stratosphere in 1961, but he wasn’t the first Soviet in space. Canine cosmonauts like Laika beat him by several years, and if the USSR was willing to put a dog in a rocket, who’s to say they didn’t experiment on him first?

According to this fan theory, Scooby is a runaway from the Soviets’ classified space dog program, designed to breed pups capable of operating satellites and understanding radio commands. Scooby was the best of the bunch, the rare test subject who could understand and imitate human speech. Naturally, one of the scientists got attached and defected with Scooby to the USA. When that scientist died, Scooby found a new family with a group of friendly teenagers. But the CIA never stopped searching for this Soviet wunderpup, which is why Mystery, Inc. is constantly traveling by van—and why the original show is called Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

2. The show takes place during an economic depression.

A still from 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You!'
Warner Home Video

A classic Scooby-Doo mystery might take place at a theme park, museum, or mine—so long as it’s grimy and deserted. That’s a weird coincidence when you think about it: why are all these places so rundown? Well, that tends to happen when you’re weathering a financial collapse, and many clues indicate that’s just what’s happening in the world of Scooby-Doo. The towns he and his friends visit never seem to be doing well. No one has any money: Not the many scientists posing as monsters for cash, not the operators of every haunted attraction the gang investigates, and certainly not Shaggy and Scooby, who gorge on dog treats and lose their minds whenever they so much as smell a burger.

3. Mystery, Inc. is actually a cult.

Let’s break down the core members of the gang: You have Fred, the handsome and friendly frontman of the group. Then there’s Daphne, the fashionable and pretty one who mostly follows Fred around. Velma has the brains and Shaggy has full-blown conversations with a dog. When you really think about, doesn’t this all sound a bit like a cult? Fred would obviously be the cult leader, who recruits groupies like Daphne to obey his every command. Velma’s intelligence makes her a useful addition, and she could also be seeking acceptance from the “cool” kids. As for Shaggy, well, men who claim dogs can talk to them have a famously disturbing history—much like cult members.

4. They’re all draft dodgers.

Scooby Doo, Where Are You! premiered in 1969. Also happening that year? The Vietnam War. As able-bodied men (seemingly) over 18, Fred and Shaggy would both be eligible for the draft, which begs the obvious question: is Mystery, Inc. just a bunch of draft dodgers? The boys could be driving that van straight to Canada to avoid deployment, along with Fred’s fiancée Daphne and their antiwar activist friend Velma. Scooby’s stance on the war remains unclear, but he’s along for the ride.

5. Scooby Snacks alter your genes.

What if Scooby’s preferred treat is really a steroid capable of editing genetic code? It would explain why Scooby—and other members of his canine family, like Scrappy-Doo and Scooby-Dum—can talk, as well as their ability to perform “completely ridiculous stunts.” (Also, if Scrappy-Doo is on steroids, it would explain why he’s always trying to fight.) But what about its effect on humans? As far as we know, Shaggy is the only person who eats Scooby Snacks, and he seems to have a freakishly high metabolism, considering the mile-high sandwiches he eats and his super skinny frame.

6. Fred drives the Mystery Machine because the real owner is too high.

Whenever the gang piles into the Mystery Machine, there’s only one person behind the wheel: Fred. Mystery, Inc.’s de facto leader is constantly driving his friends from one haunted house to the next, which would imply that the Mystery Machine is his car. But why would a clean-shaven, preppy kid like Fred own a lime green van with flowers plastered over the doors? That car obviously belongs to a hippie, and in this group, that’s Shaggy. His hippie lifestyle, however, may be the reason Shaggy never drives. He’s either lost his license from driving under the influence, or Fred is worried he will, so someone else serves as his designated driver.

7. Shaggy is Captain America’s son.

This theory starts with small coincidences, like the fact that Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and Steve Rogers share a last name. Then it builds to something bigger when you factor in a detail from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While out on a morning run, Sam Wilson (a.k.a. Falcon) claims that Steve can run 13 miles in half an hour, a rate that breaks down to 26 mph. Shaggy, meanwhile, frequently keeps pace with Scooby, a Great Dane. Those dogs run up to 30 mph. Ergo, Shaggy is Steve’s son.

8. Monsters really do exist in the Scooby-Doo universe.

A still from 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You!'
Warner Home Video

Each time the gang catches a new “monster,” it always turns out to be a human in disguise, grumbling about how they “would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” Monsters, the show tells us over and over again, are not real. But this Reddit theory poses an important question: If monsters don’t exist, why is there a business dedicated to catching the fake ones? The fact that Mystery, Inc. keeps getting calls implies that “supernatural fraud” is an entire category of crime, one that wouldn’t make sense or work if people didn’t believe in monsters. Everyone in the Scooby-Doo universe also seems to accept monsters as a normal and everyday occurrence, suggesting that monsters are real—the gang has just never caught one.

9. Shaggy and Scooby are actors.

When danger calls, Shaggy and Scooby tend to run the other way. But what if the group’s most cowardly members were actually actors pretending to be scared of ghosts, monsters, and other paranormal entities? According to this fan theory, Shaggy and Scooby are faking their over-the-top fear in order to draw the monsters out. By posing as easy targets, they know they’ll get spooked first, and thus make it easier for Mystery, Inc. to trap the ghost/witch/pirate. That’s why Fred always pairs Shaggy with Scooby when they split up to investigate, and it’s why after many years of investigating the supernatural, the two of them still don’t seem remotely used to it.

10. Green Room is just a gritty Scooby-Doo reboot.

The 2015 horror movie Green Room is about a band with a van that squares off against an evil old Nazi. The Scooby-Doo franchise is about a team (that was supposed to be a band) with a van that squares off against evil old men (who could also, theoretically, be Nazis). You do the math.

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