Abbi Jacobson has never held back from baring it all. She’s waltzed around her Queens apartment naked on camera, broken a wine glass in her bare hands atop a restaurant table, and hidden marijuana, ahem, discreetly, when needed.
But for each of those vulnerable moments, Abbi Jacobson was playing Abbi Abrams, her sort-of counterpart on Broad City. And at least for 2018, it’s Jacobson who’s front and center, and she’s putting herself out there in new ways with her book I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and other stuff. Just one day after the book hits stores, Jacobson hosts an evening in conversation in Medford at the Chevalier Theatre this Wednesday (October 31).
Penned on a post breakup cross-country road trip from New York City to Los Angeles, Jacobson’s collection chronicles three week’s worth of what ranges from whimsical notes on car snacks and playlist highlights, to self-aware, intimate hindsight on her career and love life.
There’s still plenty of comedic effect here — and it effervesces from Jacobson naturally — but plastered behind all the witty parentheticals there’s susceptibility stemming from her unique relationship with love. Or, more accurately, what was a lack thereof for much of her life.
“I think [the thing I was most hesitant to share] was maybe the struggle I have with feeling alone and not understood,” Jacobson tells Vanyaland. “I had always felt like a bit of a secret outsider having never fallen in love and that was something that felt very freeing to give myself the chance to write about.”
From Jacobson’s confession springs more nuggets of her journey to Broad City. She details the agony of dropping out of acting school as a freshman, the fateful night she met Broad City co-star and co-writer Ilana Glazer, and yes, even how they got Amy Poehler into the glorious mix.
The experiences she divulges as a woman in comedy practically warrant their own book. FX initially deemed the program “too girly” to air on the network; the theatre acting groups at the Upright Citizens Brigade magically never had more than one woman per group; and even as an established comedian and writer, she can’t escape the fact that her gender somehow always precedes her job title.
“Women have to push harder, jump farther, stay later, think better, shit faster, all while trying their best to maintain whatever society says today their body should look like, how they should parent, what they should wear, when they should find love, what’s inappropriate for them to do, say, be, feel, or fuck,” she shares in a chapter called “Working Woman.”
All of this comes sandwiched next to essays on vortexes and aura photos in Sedona, Arizona and the prevalent Mormon-ness of Kanab, Utah, complete with sketches of crystals and buffalo keychain room keys.
“I knew I was going to create some sort of book from this trip, I just wasn’t sure exactly what. I pitched the book before I left on the road trip, so in the back of my mind I knew I was going to be putting down that experience in some way,” Jacobson explains. “I kept notes and took a lot of pictures along the way that helped me formulate what the end framework would be.”
For Jacobson, I Might Regret This marks her second book to be published (the fourth if you count her two coloring books), following Carry This Book, a series of her drawings that earned her a New York Times bestseller.
Jacobson’s career outside of the Comedy Central show has especially blossomed recently. Following the launch of her modern art podcast with MoMA last year, Jacobson was recruited to voice Princess Bean on Disenchantment, a Netflix series created by The Simpsons’ own Matt Groening. As Broad City comes to a close with its fifth and final season early next year, I Might Regret This paves part of the way for her future outside of Abbi Abrams.
“I didn’t know at the time, when I was making Carry This Book, that my next endeavor would be this type of book, but I had been thinking a lot about trying to write in a longer format for quite some time,” she explains. ”I couldn’t help myself with this one, also including illustrations, as I felt they really added to the format of this book, but I’m so excited about this new venture. It was so satisfying to attack the essay and have the time to rework and edit this collection.”
“I hope people feel like they are on the road trip with me,” Jacobson says, “that they might find something in there that makes them feel less alone, makes them laugh, or makes them forget for a moment about the current barrage of terrifying and horrific news updates.” ABBI JACOBSON — I MIGHT REGRET THIS TOUR :: Wednesday, October 31 at The Chevalier Theatre, 30 Forest St. in Medford, MA :: 8 p.m., $45 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Featured photo by Emmanuel Olunkwa courtesy of Grand Central Publishing