This Is The Next Best Thing To Being BFFs With Abbi Jacobson

Okay, so maybe the next best thing to being BFFs with Abbi Jacobson is being her regular friend or even casual acquaintance. But the next, next best thing is this: We’re partnering with Penguin Random House and Lorem Ipsum for the ultimate giveaway. You’ll get a signed copy of the Broad City babe’s new book, Carry This Booka look at the real and imagined items in the bags of everyone from Martha Stewart to Michelle Obama — plus a Baggu backpack to actually carry it in. Also in the bag, you'll find a ton of products Jacobson picked out herself. We’re talking Bose earbuds, Steven Alan sunglasses, Chanel lipstick, and plenty more goodies that’ll have you saying, “YAAASS QUEEN!” Get carried away and enter to win* now! After you've taken care of that, keep reading — we got Jacobson to dish about her book, writing rituals, and what she keeps in her own bag.
Where did the idea for Carry This Book come from? "I made two Color This Book coloring books in 2013, one for San Francisco and one for New York City. The coloring book craze is sorta out of control right now, but mine came out before that happened and before Broad City. I was itching to do another coloring book or something. Penguin was interested in doing an illustrated book, which I’ve always wanted to do. "In middle school, I read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It examines what Vietnam vets carried around with them during the war and how what they carried told the story of who they were. My pitch was inspired by that concept. What we carry around can really give a lot of information about ourselves. On top of that, this book was a way for me to poke fun at certain people and explore notable figures and famous fictional characters." How did you choose whose bag to illustrate? "I made a really long list: people I admire, people I despise, well-known fictional characters. There were people I thought would be interesting who didn’t make the cut. Hitler was on the list for a second. Ultimately, I thought people might take offense, so I decided not to. Sometimes the bad guys are more interesting to expose. It would’ve been juicy to imagine what was in Hitler’s bag. I would've had a lot of leeway to draw stuff. "I researched everybody in the book. There were some people who were harder to imagine, like Gilda Radner. Everything I came up with for her felt like common knowledge, not anything new. I wasn’t necessarily looking to expose bad things, but there had to be some facts that piqued my fancy. Like, obviously, Carrie Bradshaw. I could draw her stuff forever. I could do a whole book for her." You illustrated Carry This Book while writing season 4 of Broad City. How did you manage that? "It was very difficult. But when you have stuff to do, you just get it done. I had two weeks to work on the book before we started writing, which is nothing. We were originally supposed to start writing the show in September, and then changed it to an earlier date in May. So I was working on the book at night and on the weekends, and the whole time we were writing (for the show). It was the most stressed out I’ve ever been. I have a scar on my nose right now because I fainted from exhaustion. Ilana (Glazer) came over and took me to a hospital. It was really bizarre. I’m lucky I didn’t break my nose. [laughs] "I’m really proud of the book. I touch on it in the epilogue, but I can’t believe that I actually did it (and worked on Broad City) all at the same time. Now I romanticize the whole thing, because I’m on the other side of it." What’s your ideal creative environment? "When I’m drawing, I need to be in a studio space or my home office because I need a big desk for my markers and tools. But when it comes to writing, I get very, very distracted working at home. When I’m writing on my own, I need to be at a coffee shop. I don’t know why. "I found through this process that, ideally, I shouldn't be working on another project while we’re writing the show. But I also think I tend to work better when I’m really busy. When I have all the time in the world, I don’t get as much done." We always read about these precious rituals that creative people have, like that poet who kept rotten apples in his desk because the smell inspired him. (For real!) Do you have any weird creative rituals? "I think I’m different every day. Sometimes I listen to music or I’ll have a show on in the background as I color. There’s always some audio going — it can’t be silent. I’m very easily distracted and quick to procrastinate, so I usually have to do all my emails before I start drawing. Otherwise, I’ll find a reason not to get to a task. "For a good part of this book, I started buying flowers for my desk since I spent so much time there. It made me feel like I was doing something nice for myself while I was sitting in the same spot all weekend. I would buy tulips in my old neighborhood. Then, when I moved in the middle of the book, I started buying bodega flowers. They were solid. Toward the end of the project, I was getting some nicer bouquets in the mail from friends. They knew I was falling apart!" When you’re in the middle of the creative process — whether you’re drawing or writing Broad City — do you consume creative work by other people? "I watch a lot of TV, because I like it and I try to stay up on what’s going on. In the art world, I follow a lot of people I like on Instagram. I’m not ever trying to look for people who are the same as me, in either regard. For Broad City, I don’t watch to see what other people are doing so I can do or not do the same thing. Obviously, a person’s art will be influenced by what that person consumes, but I’m never actively searching for something so close to my own work." Some people say they get jealous or think, Why bother? when they read or see a creative competitor doing something amazing. Do you ever feel that way? "There was a show that recently came out that kinda made me have that thought. I was like, Fuck! Fuck you. This show is so good. Watch Fleabag on Amazon. It’s very unique — I really love it. It’s the first thing in a long time that made me feel that way. And Broad City’s nothing like it! But it doesn’t discourage me. It just makes think of it as a great, fresh, new voice." What’s in your bag right now? "It’s different than usual, because I’ve been traveling. I have a ton in my bag. I have this journal that I only carry when I’m in L.A. I use it to write about big, big things that happen, like this movie I’ve been filming. I’m carrying this huge book, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which I haven’t started yet. I also have a bunch of notebooks, an iPad, sunglasses, regular glasses, and chargers. I carry a lot of different types of pens. I’ve also got some Advil, gotta have Advil. I have a mini deodorant and Aesop hand balm, which I love — it’s gonna be in the sweepstakes bag! Then there are tampons — a couple different sizes — and headphones, Purell, keys, a couple lipsticks, a nail file… Man, I’m a regular lady over here." The fictional Abbi and Ilana were included in the book, but I’m wondering what a few other Broad City characters would carry around. Are you up for some free association? "Yeah!"

Okay, the first one I thought of was Garol from North Brother Island.

"I knew you were gonna say that. Well, I think that she would have yogurt and a spoon. I feel like maybe she would need The New Yorker, folded up in fourths the way people do on the subway. She’s somehow a landlord, too, so I bet she has a huge keychain to hold a lot of keys. I don’t know why, but I keep imagining her carrying a tiny Chanel bag or Fjällräven backpack. She probably has travel tissue and suckers, like grandmas always do."

What about Bevers?

"I think he’s carrying a key to his own apartment and a key to a nice car. He also has a bag of grated cheese and a candy bar. He definitely has an iPhone 7 and a card to some store like GameStop. I think he carries an extra pair of tube socks with him, too."

And Abbi’s alter ego, Val?

"Val has a pair of tights and those long cigarettes. I feel like she’s been writing letters to like, Warren Beatty and some other old-school dudes, so those are in there. Her wallet’s full of pictures of her and Old Hollywood people. She’s also got pearl earrings and her top hat."

Do you have any other books in the works?

"I’m not sure when, but I hope so. Carry This Book definitely made me want to do more, especially now that it’s finished. It's reignited my interest in art again." *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States (excluding Rhode Island), 18 years or older and over the age of majority in jurisdiction of residence at time of entry. Ends 11/12/16 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For Official Rules, click here [or go to [URL]]. Void where prohibited.

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