When Broad City first came out, it felt unlike anything else on TV: brash, bold, and self-assured, while also entirely and fully bizarre in a way few TV shows, even comedies, allow themselves to be. Where did this show spring from so fully formed? The answer was YouTube, where Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson had been posting episodes since 2009.
Broad City was never particularly popular on the Internet, but after making its way to Comedy Central it exploded, becoming one of the most acclaimed comedies on the air. Suddenly, web series were big business, and everyone wanted to know: where was the next Broad City (or Insecure, or Web Therapy)? What other web series stand ripe for the taking?
Here are 6 web series you can find and stream right now that take the torch from Broad City and continue the tradition of goofy, irreverent, and real comedy on the web — and eventually maybe on your television.
The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo — Caleb Gallo is a grad student in Los Angeles trying to Find Love and Be Happy, along with a big gang of quirky friends. This is the oldest story in the book, but what separates this show from others is the odd, surreal way it’s told. You can imagine Caleb having a long distance friendship with Abbi and Ilana and telling them about all his friends. They’d probably take every crazy move in stride.
Be Here Nowish — Nina and Sam are both living messy lives in New York — Sam just got dumped by her boyfriend and her clients keep thinking she’s a prostitute instead of a dating coach, while Nina is waking up hungover on her stoop because she was too drunk to get inside the night before. After meeting at a mutual friend’s bachelorette party, they find kindred spirits in each other, and when Nina’s ex girlfriend invites her to go learn from the “Urban Shaman Bob” in LA she asks Sam to come along. The show skewers hippy dippy New Agers and shows the partnership you feel when you’ve found a new friend, while being laugh out loud funny.
Chloe + Zoe — The center of Broad City is the intense, all-consuming friendship between Abbi and Ilana, and the same kind of friendship is present in Chloe + Zoe. Chloe and Zoe are roommates with the same offbeat, quirky sense of humor who can’t quite relate to anyone who isn’t the two of them. The show shines with their long, drawn out, convoluted conversations about hypotheticals (“How much money would you need to do porn?”) that become more and more detailed as they continue, in true best friend fashion.
Filthy Preppy Teen$ — One of the most fun things about Broad City is its off-kilter version of New York where the more absurd and insane the outcome of any event, the better. Filthy Preppy Teen$ takes that wackiness and runs with it, except that instead of New York City, it’s set in a high school reminiscent of Gossip Girl or The OC. The most popular kids in class get shipwrecked and are presumed lost at sea, leaving a power vacuum in their expensive prep school. When they return, bruised, traumatized, and with suspicious ability to throw a boomerang, they have to claw their way back to the top. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Dylan Gelula is particularly funny as a high schooler working as a lawyer on the side (“Being a high powered lawyer is going to look great on college applications”).
Pursuit of Sexiness — Starring Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata and Girl Code’s Nicole Byer, Pursuit of Sexiness follows two friends — Sheer and Nicky — through their morally dubious schemes to make money and meet men. The show follows Sheer and Nicky through speed dating, Facebook stalking, and bar crawls all with the same outrageous, irreverent humor, and they play off each other with the casual intimacy of real life best friends.
Geoffrey the Dumbass — One of my favorite Broad City storylines is Ilana’s job at Deals, Deals, Deals, a startup company she works (barely) at. This same bad-employee bit is explored in greater depth in Geoffrey the Dumbass, a series about an intern who is simply terrible at his job. A spinoff of the Jake and Amir videos from College Humor (Jake and Amir play themselves, Geoffrey’s bosses), the show is purely silly — in one episode, Geoffrey pitches “Rand Paul’s Drag Race,” a NASCAR TV show starring the Republican senator from Kentucky. Geoffrey the Dumbass feels a bit like watching a show about Ilana from the perspective of her boss, and the Noir episode is one of the funniest bits of writing I’ve watched in a while.
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