We’ve already given you 18 things to know about Abbi Jacobson, so it only seems right to give the same treatment to Ilana Glazer. They go together like bagels and cream cheese, humidity and frizzy hair, and well, Abbi & Ilana. They’ve cemented their status as a pair of famous Jewish BFFs, an amazing comedic duo who brought us Broad City. Even though the show is ending its run after five seasons, Ilana Glazer is not going anywhere.
Here are 18 things you maybe didn’t know about her:
1. She was born in 1987 on Long Island, in a heavily Republican town Ilana describes as “where guidos meet potato farmers’ grandchildren.”
2. Her Reform Jewish family was kind of an outlier in the “conventional Catholic” town. Her brother explains, “Our family meals are always like, ‘Huh?’ because we squawk at each other, but there’s nothing but love there. We’re the most functional, happy family and always have been.”
3. Ilana described her Jewish identity as “a typical Reform girl. Had a bat mitzvah. Did my confirmation. And my observance has dissipated. I really do love the culture and I’m proud of the culture. My grandparents were all from the boroughs, Brooklyn, Bronx, which sort of makes them double Jews. I feel my family is very much like Linda Richman, typical type of New York Jews. I think growing up in NYC, any of the boroughs, makes you a double Jew and comedy makes you triple.”
3b. In another interview, she said, “I’m a total New York Jew. I can’t believe you heard my voice, saw my face, and think I’m anything but a big old New York Jew.”
4. Her first job was at age 14, working at a diner that gave her “diarrhea and nightmares,” but she loved working and earning money because, as she said, “it just made me feel so validated.”
5. In college, she was roommates with fellow Jewish comedy queen Rachel Bloom.
6. And we can’t skip the well-told tale: Ilana and Abbi met taking improv classes, made Broad City as a web series, and from there, magic happened.
7. One of the show’s most Jewish moments, when the duo go to Florida, meant a lot to Ilana. “I love this fucking episode,” she told Rolling Stone. “It means a lot to me personally. My grandma Harriet had passed away the summer before we shot this at the condo, in the actual community where I grew up going with my family every year. Florida as a state really encompasses the whole country — it’s bipolar, it’s wacky, it is super-progressive, it is super-racist and misogynistic.”
8. In February 2017, Ilana married David Rooklin in a secret ceremony. His Instagram is full of very candid photos of Ilana, amidst photos of molecules (he’s a computational biologist). Not his Instagram, but a beautiful photo of the two of them:
9. During the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Ilana — alongside Abbi, of course — did a dance tribute for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. You have to watch their “Julia Louis Dance”:
10. On ending Broad City at five seasons, Ilana explained, “Comedy Central was so understanding that we needed to set these personal and creative boundaries, to keep the show as high-quality as it remains. That takes a limb. It takes an entire arm. I’ve got no limbs left. My head’s cut off on the fifth. I’ve got nothing left to give. There’s just a torso on the floor.”
11. “One thing I’ve been noting lately is the gap between Ilana Wexler, my character, and Ilana Glazer, my real self,” she told WWD. “And how I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to develop Ilana Glazer through Ilana Wexler, but now that it is over, I’m also noticing there’s a lapse there, too, and I’m excited to push myself to grow in new ways. To not fall into the same rhythm that we’ve been doing for, on TV, six years, and since the web series, 10 years.”
12. She sometimes gets uncomfortable with fans. “People always want to touch me and hug me and that bothers me … like, because I’m 5’1, that’s another reason people feel like they can touch me, and that I hate. That really feels disrespectful. But again, I get it … People just open their arms and it’s such a beautiful thing to me, like, what a gesture. And for me, sometimes it feels right and sometimes it doesn’t.”
13. Ilana launched something called The Generator Collective, a platform for Americans to share how political policies impact them personally. Last fall, in the build up to the 2018 midterm elections, she was supposed to host a generator event at a Brooklyn Synagogue until anti-Semitic messages were found on the walls. (Read why she cancelled it.)
14. She’s super active politically — campaigning for politicians like Cynthia Nixon and Hilary Clinton. (Clinton even appeared on an episode of Broad City.)
15. In an episode of Lip Sync Battle (competing against Abbi, duh) she performed “It’s Raining Men.” It’s really worth a watch:
16. And yes, she and Abbi are really that close.
17. She was made fun of for her hair as a kid, but now she sees her curly hair as her strength. “People would make fun of my fluffy, cotton-candy curls, because everyone I grew up with had silk curtains of hair. Even now, people think curls represent a joke, like, ‘She’s the wacky one!’ — which I don’t believe is always true, at least not for most people. As soon as I started doing improv and stand-up, my self-confidence changed, and I started to see my frizzy hair as a strength, not a weakness. I firmly believe appearance is never as cool as what’s underneath.”
18. And one more note on her iconic hairdo: “I think my curls are dope, and I want to nourish them, not change them into something else.” Hell yeah, Ilana!