I’m sure you know Ilana Glazer as one of the badass queens of Broad City (along with Abbi Jacobson), but more than ever, it’s time we recognize her as a staunch supporter and advocate for human rights and the environment. While remaining unapologetically herself, the Jewish comedian has been able to enact change and ultimately contribute to the ever-growing movements that she lends her voice to.
This shouldn’t be a surprise — Glazer has always been a trailblazer. A lot of what Glazer chooses to do through her work is create a safe space where everyone can enjoy themselves and escape because they feel accepted through representation. This was seen time and time again on Broad City. For example, when we first meet Ilana’s roommate Jaime, he’s a gay immigrant living in New York City. By the end of the show he not only obtains his citizenship, but he also finds love and moves to New Jersey with his boyfriend. By including characters that wouldn’t succeed in any other television show and normalizing their stories, Glazer and Jacobson had a hand in changing the way we see LGBTQ+ represented on TV.
One of the first times Glazer unequivocally stated her political opinions to the public was in season three of Broad City, when Hillary Clinton made an appearance after Ilana Wexler (Glazer’s character) started campaigning for her.
But this goes far beyond TV. In a time of political turmoil and incessant upset, Glazer has made sure that her real voice is heard.
Almost daily since the election of President Trump in 2016, Glazer has been vocal on her personal social media accounts about her concern for the state of the United States, and excels at educating everyone about what the ordinary citizen can do to help change the system. Whether she’s encouraging people to get out and vote or urging her followers to call certain senators and departments to reject harmful law changes and bills, Glazer is all about action.
What’s more, instead of simply telling people to vote for a certain candidate, she clearly states the reasons why she is choosing this specific person to vote for over the others. In some circumstances, she’s even streamed a conversation with the candidate as well, or visited universities to encourage students to use their own voices to vote and make a change. The beauty of Glazer’s strategy is that she doesn’t let her followers vote uninformed; if she endorses someone, you’ll know exactly why.
One major topic of concern for Glazer has been the environment, specifically climate change (as it should be for everyone). Her recent stand-up comedy tour was titled The Planet is Burning, and she recently announced her first stand-up special coming out on Amazon Prime by the same name. While we don’t yet know the contents of the special and whether or not she focuses on the environment, the title itself is statement enough. To boot, she’s ensuring all of her tour merchandise items are environmentally friendly, selling reusable water bottles, totes, and t-shirts that are made out of 50% RPET, which is recycled plastic bottles.
In Judaism, we all have the obligation to make the world we live in a better place. Tikkun olam, healing the world, doesn’t only refer to big, heroic actions, but the small steps that seem relatively minute in the grand scheme of things, like recycling a plastic container or taking a shorter shower. Ilana Glazer exemplifies tikkun olam. She uses her voice to encourage people to care and her influence to encourage people to act. As she leads by way of example, Glazer is demonstrating that change is possible, and that the most ordinary person has the opportunity to make a difference.
As far as I know, Glazer doesn’t get paid to speak with politicians and inform her followers; she does so out of her own concern for the country and the future of our planet. Glazer’s selflessness can be felt within all of the work she does. For that, we should be grateful to have such a caring, intelligent, and not to mention, hilarious woman paving the way for the future of humanity and inspiring young adults to use their voices and be heard.
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