- Ilana Glazercomedian, writer and actress. She is the co-creator and star of the hit Comedy Central show Broad City.
Extended web-only conversation with comedian and actress Ilana Glazer of Comedy Central’s “Broad City.” On Thursday, she had to cancel a political event at the Union Temple Synagogue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, after anti-Semitic and racist messages were found scrawled on walls throughout the building. She talks about what happened, white supremacy, the #MeToo movement and more.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we talk about what happened last night here in New York City—actually, technically, it was in Brooklyn—where a political event, hosted by Ilana Glazer of Comedy Central’s Broad City, at the Union Temple Synagogue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, was canceled. It was last night. Ilana canceled it after anti-Semitic and racist messages were found scrawled on walls throughout the building. Among the messages were “Jew Better Be Ready,” “Insert Oven Here, “End is now,” the word “Hitler.” Another graffiti said “Free Smoke for [N-word] Jews”—but it wrote out the epithet. And another said ”FPEE PR,” and it had a kind of Puerto Rican flag. These were all Magic Markered.
The graffiti comes amidst a surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes nationwide, including Saturday’s massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
So, I was scheduled to speak with Ilana at the event. It was an unusual, well, shifting of the microphone. She was going to be interviewing me about the coverage of the midterm elections and what it means to cover grassroots groups. So, as I was coming to the synagogue, Ilana called me, and she said, “This may have to be canceled. We have a situation. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”
And then we saw the graffiti. And floor after floor, whether it was near the all-gender bathroom or in the stairwells that we were walking—we walked past the rabbi’s study. You know, we saw the sign that said “Isert [Insert] over here.” And it got more and more serious.
And so, as hundreds of people gathered for the event—there’s a synagogue there, there’s all sorts of event rooms—Ilana made the decision to cancel the event, not wanting to put anyone in jeopardy. Ilana made the announcement to the hundreds of people that were there.
ILANA GLAZER: Hey, y’all. Thank you for coming tonight. We have a situation that we will—that’s not presenting any immediate danger, but there were hateful, anti-Semitic [bleep] scrawled all over the space today, very recently, within the past couple hours. So we don’t feel safe. … This wasn’t the event, you know what I mean? But we are experiencing this together, and this is something for us to think about, gather around, organize and activate. And we’ll follow up with this story and who I was hoping to show you guys—these local candidates who are running tight races, who need your help canvassing this weekend.
AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Ilana Glazer canceling the event last night. No, there were no jokes there. You know, what certainly Ilana is known for is her amazing humor.
We’re going to continue our conversation now with Ilana Glazer in Part 2 of this conversation. She is co-creator and star of the hit Comedy Central show Broad City.
I really appreciate you coming in, because this was a long night. And, you know, when we went outside and people were leaving, they were stunned after you made the announcement, trying to understand, to take this all in. People were crying. They were hugging each other. We’re revealing here for the first time exactly what was said on the walls, and we didn’t get everything; there were other things, as well, that were said. I wouldn’t say the police were moving with great speed, but there were a number of them there. We could not understand actually what they were doing for hours. I talked to them way later into the night, and saying, “Could you please explain why you would explain nothing and why you wouldn’t help us in any way figure out what was going on?”
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, that was a bizarre dynamic, that we were telling the cops what to do. And I—well, I was going to say I get it, but I don’t quite get it. I don’t really know what their job is. I thought it was to protect and inform. And it was—they seemed like not sure what angle they were taking or something.
AMY GOODMAN: But you were quite sure, and—
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, and our group knew exactly what to do, because we had to take care of these people. They were all gathering, and it was like, ugh, I had this nightmare image in my head as these people are gathering. I’m like, just get them out slowly and calmly.
It was really—I really saw last night, we really experienced last night, how our politics—how human rights politics are silenced by white supremacy, even if in threat. And like, you know, it was just hard to tell how to feel for so long—I’m still processing it—where no one was killed, so I can like—you know, my body language, I can be relaxed. But someone could have been killed yesterday. I mean, just a week ago, there was this mass shooting. But it really—it feels so directly incited by the hateful rhetoric that’s constantly coming out of the president’s mouth. I mean, day in and day out, it is like this abuse.
AMY GOODMAN: Right. Whoever did this—we don’t know who did this. The police haven’t found the person. But whoever they are, this country being pummeled with hate speech.
ILANA GLAZER: Constantly pummeled. I mean, it really feels like this abusive partner or parent or something, that, you know, hasn’t been this abusive like ever before. I know the country—this country is built on white supremacy and was born out of white supremacy. But this abuse that we’re feeling—and we talked about it in Generator this week, that it’s—
AMY GOODMAN: And again, explain what Generator is.
ILANA GLAZER: So, Generator is an online movement that encourages people to use Instagram to talk about policy. Yes, bikini pics. Yes, vacation pics. But also, let’s give—let’s drop one out of 10 videos to talk about how policy or government affects our everyday lives. You know, we got to this point, this divisive point in our country, because, growing up in the '90s, “Don't talk about politics,” that was the thing. And we haven’t talked about it long enough that here we are, and it’s zero or 100.
So, in these live events, I interview politicians and activists, and to see how they both work for the people, also while getting Generator videos from the audience, because it’s unique community kind of support to speak up like this. And yeah, it was just—we experienced last night. And we couldn’t have this event, but we experienced. Both the first night, when I called the opponent of Perry Gershon on Long Island—I called his opponent a white supremacist. He had to pull out, for political reasons. And then—
AMY GOODMAN: So, the Democrat had to pull out—
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, because I called his Republican—
AMY GOODMAN: —because you had called the Republican a white supremacist.
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, because his policies align with white supremacy, and it’s the district that I grew up in. If I still lived there, that would be my representative. That’s my parents’ representative. It makes me so mad that this person has these—and also as a Jew, it makes me mad that this Jewish person has these policies. But Perry Gershon, the Long Island candidate, had to pull out. I get it. Jim Gaughran on Long Island and Andrew Gounardes of South Brooklyn, I was ready to send these canvassers, these willing and able bodies, send them to knock on doors for these politicians. And we couldn’t get the message out last night because of racism and violence.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn, as you talk about white supremacy, to Steve King. He is the Iowa congressman who is running. And, I mean, he was going to win by a landslide, except that now he’s maybe a point ahead. The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Congressman Steve Stivers, blasted Congressman Steve King on Twitter earlier this week, saying, “Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.” Again, that tweet coming from one of the chief Republican fundraisers. It came as corporate supporters of King, including Intel, Land O’Lakes and Purina PetCare, said they would no longer fund King’s campaigns.
Just to talk about King’s record, King recently endorsed far-right Canadian Faith Goldy for Toronto mayor, who is an outright white supremacist, a proud one, and has amplified racist and anti-immigrant posts on social media, including publishing a racist tweet in support of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders last year. Last week, it was reported King met with a neo-Nazi Austrian group during an August trip that was funded by a Holocaust memorial nonprofit. Now, so he went, he visited Holocaust sites, then he met with this neo-Nazi group. King later told The Washington Post, “If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.” That’s what Steve King told The Washington Post about the neo-Nazis in Austria, that if they were here in the U.S., they would be Republicans. So, until last year, Congressman King displayed a Confederate battle flag on his desk in his Capitol Hill office.
So, then we go to yesterday. While Ilana Glazer was canceling an event because of racist, anti-Semitic graffiti in Brooklyn, Congressman Steve King, in Iowa, lashed out at a college student at campaign event in Des Moines for asking about how King’s personal beliefs line up with those of the Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers. Let’s go to that clip.
KALEB VAN FOSSON: You and the shooter both share an ideology that is fundamentally anti-immigration—
REP. STEVE KING: No. Don’t you do that. Do not associate me with that shooter. I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room.
KALEB VAN FOSSON: I’m not an ambusher.
REP. STEVE KING: But there’s no basis for that. And you get no questions, you get no answers.
KALEB VAN FOSSON: I was about to ask you what distinguishes your ideology then.
REP. STEVE KING: No, you’re done. We don’t play these game here in Iowa.
KALEB VAN FOSSON: I was about to ask you what distinguishes your ideology.
REP. STEVE KING: No, you’re done. You crossed the line. It’s not tolerable to accuse me to be associated with a guy that shot 11 people in Pittsburgh. I am a person who has stood with Israel from the beginning, and to the length of that nation is the length of my life.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Steve King lashing out at the college student in Des Moines for asking about how his rhetoric is different from what Bowers said—
ILANA GLAZER: Wow!
AMY GOODMAN: —before he opened fire on the Jewish worshipers, killing 11 of them. Ilana?
ILANA GLAZER: That is bold. And also, his response is so clearly flustered. And, you know, there’s this like bizarre distinction now between—or not distinction. It’s like amorphous, words into actions and the chaos that Trump specifically is causing, and the GOP is specifically causing. I’m so shocked, actually, that the NRCC guy, the head of the Republican whatever—
AMY GOODMAN: Stivers, yeah.
ILANA GLAZER: —said that. That’s actually—that’s a great—
AMY GOODMAN: He’s calling out his white supremacy.
ILANA GLAZER: I’m shocked and like pleased. But—
AMY GOODMAN: I think that Republican candidates around the country are feeling very threatened by their colleagues’ white supremacy. And it’s not only King.
ILANA GLAZER: They should.
AMY GOODMAN: They’re finding they have to separate themselves. Interestingly, in both Nevada with Heller and McSally in Arizona, they’ve told Trump not to come. He’s, you know—
ILANA GLAZER: Wow!
AMY GOODMAN: —barnstorming the country. They don’t want him in those two states as they attempt to take their Senate seats.
ILANA GLAZER: I’m like holding my fingers, these like thoughts. One is that like, you know, in the car on the way here, like I was just thinking like Trump’s only platform is white supremacy. He doesn’t know law. He doesn’t know how the Constitution works. He’s talking about changing the 14th Amendment. And even Paul Ryan is like—I heard on Democracy Now!—Paul Ryan is like, “Yeah, I can’t support that.” You know, it’s like—it’s so funny to hear Trump like divide his own party. But he’s not even a Republican. He’s kind of just—he’s this symbol. He’s this symbol for white supremacy, which he’s been since the '80s, you know, taking an ad out on the Central Park Five to execute these young black boys. I mean, he's been a racist. He’s been out about it. And that’s his only platform. There’s no law. There’s no Constitution. There’s no policy there. There’s no experience for that to be—only the experience of corrupt business for his platform to be built on.
And I’m so—I’m so happy to see Republicans. I miss like a Republican—you know, McCain, you know? Like a conversation that can happen that isn’t just either hateful or—you know, human rights politics or white supremacist politics. It’s more nuanced than that. And our country is not being honored with this chaos, this purposeful chaos. It’s being abused with this chaos.
AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about how you chose to change your platform. You’re usually a stand-up comic, or you’re doing Broad City on TV, on Comedy Central. Then we’re moving into the midterm elections, and you decide you want to do something different, Ilana Glazer.
ILANA GLAZER: So, OK, so I’ve been working on Generator for a couple years now. And Generator is this—can I repeat myself about this? So Generator is this online movement to encourage people to use Instagram to talk about how government affects their everyday lives, in conjunction with their like cute pics, whatever, fine. But, you know, can we sow in talking about politics, make that normal, make that as normal as posting yourself at whatever? You know, people post “I voted,” but talk about policy. How does—
AMY GOODMAN: So make it cute.
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, make it cute, and also just humanize, humanize policy. You know, I’m not a DREAMer, but when I started seeing accounts of DREAMers, you know, these kids who—I can imagine myself at 8 years old being brought somewhere—I didn’t choose that; I’m a kid—you know, that affects me as an American. That affects me that I feel abused, even though I’m not a DREAMer, even though I’m not a first-generation immigrant. I’m abused as an American, because that’s not what I stand for as an American. So, OK, so that’s the online movement.
But we’ve been doing these live events where I interview politicians and activists to see how they both serve the people. And they’re supposed to hinge. You know, they’re supposed to swing on the same hinge. But so often they don’t. And for the midterms, there’s become this very clear, actionable energy, this clear flow of energy, where my audience is ready to do something November 3rd and 4th. And I was really planning on pointing them towards canvassing for these politicians. And white supremacy, in the first of four events and the fourth of four events—three candidates in tight local races lost that chance. And it wasn’t so conscious, like, “Oh, the midterms are coming. I’m going to do this.” It was just a continuation of The Generator Series. But this second installment of our series has become really—it’s making it clear what’s going on right now, how divided we are, how our words become actionable. And Generators on both of those nights experienced a story together. We all experienced the effects of how white supremacy and hate speech and hate silences human rights politics.
AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about who you’ve had on this week on Generator at—I mean, it was all at this Brooklyn synagogue, right?
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, that’s right. And so, you know, the mass shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh the week earlier, it was so freaky to enter the synagogue the next day, on Sunday. I understand, again, why Perry Gershon didn’t—couldn’t come.
But this week—so that night I interviewed Jess McIntosh and Zerlina Maxwell, who do Signal Boost on Sirius. And then Tuesday was—like Tuesday, these candidates were—are so amazing, these candidates in Pennsylvania: Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato and Elizabeth Fiedler, who won their primaries. That’s where their race mainly lied.
Also, by the way, in Generator, like my role is I’m not—I didn’t learn this. I didn’t grow up in D.C. Like I remember getting to college, and like kids from D.C. were so serious and knew how everything worked, and I had no idea. I knew how comedy worked, you know what I mean? So, I’m just like a proxy for a newbie, for the audience. I don’t know what’s going on. So—
AMY GOODMAN: You also had Ana María Archila on, didn’t you?
ILANA GLAZER: Oh, my goodness, yes, I did. Ana María Archila. The third night was two Democracy Now! guests—Ari Berman and Ana María Archila—and then Susan Bysiewicz in Connecticut, who’s running a tight race for lieutenant governor. But yeah, it’s been extremely enlightening and inspiring. And it’s like the best thing to do in these days, when the president is abusing our ears and minds. The best thing to do is gather and organize and act. And, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, just to let people—remind people who Ana María Archila is, of the Center for Popular Democracy, which she co-directs, she’s that woman who put her foot in the elevator door, challenging Senator Flake when he was about to approve—I think the statement had just come out from his office that he was going to vote for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. And she and Maria Gallagher, another woman, ran after him. He went into an elevator. They put their foot in the door, and they said, “We are sexual assault survivors. Are you telling us our experiences don’t matter?” And maybe we can even play a clip of what they said.
ILANA GLAZER: And she said, “Look at me. Look at me when I’m talking to you.” That was the best part. You know, we celebrated that night. I mean, that was the first time that our audience stood up, and everyone was like teary-eyed and emotional. We celebrated how this petite Latina woman, this woman of color, made—you know, OK, the vote passed. It turns out—you know, everybody believed, I think, Dr. Ford, because it was just so obvious. It was so obvious, you know? But it turned out that the Republicans didn’t care. That’s really what it is—not that they didn’t believe her, that they didn’t care. And I don’t care—you know, I’m going to like celebrate for a second that Ana María Archila made space and time for her body, for her voice, for Dr. Ford’s voice and Dr. Ford’s body, made—created the space and time, a week that they waited to pass—inevitably pass the vote.
AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s go to Ana María Archila at that elevator, challenging Senator Flake.
MARIA GALLAGHER: That’s what you’re telling all of these women. That’s what you’re telling me right now. Look at me when I’m talking to you. You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter, that what happened to me doesn’t matter, and that you’re going to let people who do these things into power. That’s what you’re telling me when you vote for him. Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you’ll let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Maria Gallagher. That was the second woman who, as Ana María spoke, you know, gained strength to make her point. And we’re going to play that clip in a second. But you were electrified by this moment when you first saw it?
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah. Like what I was saying in introducing her was that I was so physically ill that day, my own experiences coming up, my friends’ experiences coming up, and, you know, just 30 years after Anita Hill, just to see the same room of white men with furrowed brows. And, you know, I’m not saying it’s white men, but that’s who’s in there, you know what I mean? That’s just who’s in there.
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, there had never been a woman in the—a woman Republican senator ever serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Let me go to Ana María herself. She spoke right before Maria shared that.
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: Senator Flake, do you think that Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth? Do you think that he’s able to hold the pain of this country and repair it? That is the work of justice. The way that justice works is you recognize harm. You take responsibility for it, and then you begin to repair it. You’re allowing someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions and willing to hold the harm that he has done to one woman—actually, three women—and end and repair it. You are allowing someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions to sit in the highest court of the country and to have the role of repairing the harm that has been done in this country to many people.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: No. No “thank you.” What do you think?
HANDLER: Ma’am, do you want—
REPORTER 1: Senator, do you care to respond?
HANDLER: Ma’am, do you want to the staffer out here, please?
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: No, I want to talk to him. Don’t talk to me. What do you think?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: I need to go to the hearing.
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: I understand, but tell me. I’m standing right here in front of you. What do you have—do you think that he’s telling the truth?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you. I’m going to the hearing.
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: No. Do you think that he’s telling the truth to the country?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
STAFFER: Thank you.
MARIA GALLAGHER: You have power when so many women are powerless.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
STAFFER: Thank you.
REPORTER 2: Can you not give them an answer, Senator?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
STAFFER: We have our—we have our press available to talk to you guys, if you want.
REPORTER 2: You just released a press statement. You don’t have the courage to give them an answer?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
STAFFER: OK, thank you. Thank you.
REPORTER 1: Care to respond?
REPORTER 2: “Thank you” is not an answer, Senator.
STAFFER: We have to go. You can either come in or out. Thank you.
ANA MARÍA ARCHILA: Saying “thank you” is not an answer. This is about the future of our country, sir!
AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Ana María Archila of the Center for Popular Democracy and Maria Gallagher confronting Senator Flake. Our guest is Ilana Glazer, comedian, writer and actress, co-creator and star of the Comedy Central show Broad City.
ILANA GLAZER: So, Amy, you asked me like about the pivot right now from comedy. You know, I just finished filming Broad City, our final season, and I’m in the edit and, you know, just gearing up for all this, whatever, comedy stuff. And you asked me about like the—how serious Generator is. And I was telling you like the stakes of Generator make it so much funnier than stand-up, which is just supposed to be funny.
So, we actually—you know, watching that video, like we actually had the chance, with me and Ana María, to—because no one was hurt. Their bodies weren’t sacrificed, you know. Because in that what we just watched happened, we were able to laugh at certain details, like the clicking of Jeff Flake’s heels as he literally ran away from Ana María Archila and Maria Gallagher. They were running. They had to run up to catch him to talk to them. And we were like, “Why would this guy run, if he knew what he was doing was wrong?” He wouldn’t run. He would just stroll and then be like, “Oh, hello.” He’s running away because he knows “I’m going to vote the wrong way. Ooooh!” and run.
And then we were also laughing at that girl being like “Thank you. Thank you.” Thank you for what? They’re calling out the person you work for as like doing the absolute wrong thing, like just this soldier of misogyny, of white supremacy, this girl. You know, just this—which I—white supremacy, I consider to umbrella it all. But just this soldier, this blank, rote fembot of this message, just going, you know, going with it and not even hearing these women’s words, a woman herself. It was—it felt good to laugh about it and humanize the little details. “Like, you had to chase him?” “Yeah, with the reporters.” They had to actually chase him. It was an amazing angle. It was an amazing peek at how she actually did it, how it actually went down.
AMY GOODMAN: So, how important is this #MeToo movement to Broad City? And how have you incorporated it, and all the actors in it, the kind of conversations you’ve had?
ILANA GLAZER: You know, Broad City is birthed by women. And women in this world at this point are kind of all victims of #MeToo, are all victims of some degree of sexual harassment, I mean, you know, the day you’re born as a woman. So, the #MeToo movement is absolutely strengthening Broad City and emboldening Broad City, our feminist—we don’t even have an agenda. You know what I mean? Like we were told that we were feminist before we called ourselves feminist, you know? Just because we didn’t even see it. We were just doing what we do in the bodies that we have, you know, but—
AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, yesterday, just before you had to cancel the event at the Brooklyn synagogue because of racist, anti-Semitic graffiti, workers walked out all over the world from Google’s—
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: —headquarters and workspaces everywhere. Google is not very far from us at Democracy Now!, massive building.
ILANA GLAZER: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: It takes up a whole city block.
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right, in Chelsea.
AMY GOODMAN: Hundreds of people walked out. In fact, I’m going to see if we can get a clip. It’s one of the clips that we played during our headline. My colleagues Charina Nadura and John Hamilton raced out after Democracy Now! to record what people were saying. This is what one of the workers said.
DEMMA RODRIGUEZ: We have decided that enough is enough is enough, because everybody who works at Google has busted their backs, their asses, their lives, have sacrificed, have worked, have gotten the grades, have shown up, in order to be the best at what they do. And it is unacceptable, it is absolutely disgusting, that anyone thinks that you can be less than exceptional, and, worse than that, you can be negligent, about sexual assault, sexual harassment, abuse of power, inequities across every pillar that we have to no consequence. We will bring the consequences.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Demma Rodriguez of Black Googler Network, a part—
ILANA GLAZER: Amazing.
AMY GOODMAN: She works at Google.
ILANA GLAZER: Amazing, yeah. And that was so strong of her. That was really cool. You know, it’s important to stand up. And this person, now we’re like saying her name. Now we know her face and her voice. It’s important that individuals give their stories to create one big voice, because the words create action and create change in our culture.
And I think you asked about the #MeToo movement affecting Broad City. I like worked this out with my therapist. He helped me to see this, is that like, you know, this is a really—this is a critical moment. We have a—I don’t know what the, you know, like boundaries are for me to say, but a proud sexual predator in the White House. I mean, we’ve heard recordings of his pride in sexual assault. We have a proud sexual predator in the White House. And Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t have been brought down in a Hillary Clinton presidency. He was doing his thing in the Obama presidency. But us people who believe in human rights politics were thanking our lucky stars that we had Obama in the White House. But now that we have a sexual predator in the White House, a racist in the White House, a proud, lifelong racist in the White House, that’s why this stuff is coming up.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, you had one of your actors really revive the Bill Cosby case—
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: —and put it into public view again: Hannibal Buress, who plays Lincoln.
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right. Hannibal was just stating what—
AMY GOODMAN: Tell us the scene, where it was.
ILANA GLAZER: So, Hannibal had been doing this bit for a bunch of months, actually, about Bill Cosby, you know, being a hypocrite and actually a monster. But somebody recorded it at one show. You know, I had seen it months before, but somebody recorded it at one show, and it blew up. And he, Hannibal, really—this experience, I think, just rushed through him. It was interesting to see how one person has to take on like a cultural disaster, basically. But it like rushed through him and came out the other side. And it took a man. You know, people didn’t listen to the 30, 40 women who had accused Bill Cosby of rape and sexual assault. They listened to it when a man said it, and a black man, too. Yeah, yeah, it’s a crazy time.
Oh, but something that we’ve been saying at Generator is like this is like a giant—white supremacy is a giant, ugly, gnarly pimple, that this country was built on the acne, the cancer of this. But this is a chance where we get to—Trump is adding heat. Trump is adding steam. We have the chance to pop this pimple, and we want to do it in the right way. I know it’s like gross, but it’s also funny and true. You can’t just cover that up with concealer. You can’t pretend it’s not there. It’s there. It hurts. It’s ugly. But we have the chance to pop that pimple in the right way, to to do it in the healthy way, where we sit in our discomfort, where we acknowledge the pain, acknowledge the truth, and move forward in a healthy way.
This is—you know, even just conversations, American to American, like-minded or not like-minded, is pushing the culture forward. And I’m hearing people talking about it more, about white supremacy and about what’s happening in government, more and more these days. And there is a silver lining. Ana María Archila was quoting Valarie Kaur in that: “In this darkness”—this is, I’m paraphrasing, but—”In this darkness, it is not a tomb, but a womb. And you have to breathe and push, breathe and push through, and give birth to something better and greater.”
AMY GOODMAN: One more time? It is not a tomb, it’s a womb?
ILANA GLAZER: Yes. When you are in this darkness and you’re sitting and you are trying to locate where your feelings are at, where you are at and where the greater community is at, it is—it does not have to be a tomb. It can be a womb. Breathe and push.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to end where we started, at the temple last night, at the synagogue in Brooklyn. There are events that are displayed outside, and it sort of goes through all the different things that are happening. And one of them, at Union Temple Synagogue, is the Kristallnacht commemoration for next week. “Each year,” it says, “our congregation marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, November 10, 1938. This year we will screen the riveting documentary The Voyage of the St. Louis.” And this is the story of 1939, the St. Louis leaving Nazi Germany with almost a thousand Jews. It first made its way to Havana, Cuba. It was turned away. It then made its way up the coast of the United States. 1939, almost a thousand Jews. And it was turned away in the United States. The Jews were not given refuge, as they then were put out to sea. Many of them returned to Europe and ended up in concentration camps and died. That’s MS St. Louis story. But it is such a way of bringing together Jewish history and migrant history.
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: It makes me think of David Glosser, the uncle of Stephen Miller, who is the fiercely anti-immigrant senior adviser to President Trump, who went with him to Pittsburgh this past week.
ILANA GLAZER: Say his name again?
AMY GOODMAN: But Dr. David Glosser lives in Philadelphia.
ILANA GLAZER: Glosser.
AMY GOODMAN: And he wrote a piece in Politico, “Stephen Miller Is an [Immigration] Hypocrite. I [Know Because] I’m His Uncle.” And he calls out his nephew and says, “You would not even be alive today, our families would not have made it, if the United States did not accept migrants fleeing persecution.”
ILANA GLAZER: Wow!
AMY GOODMAN: Sadly, they didn’t in 1939. They didn’t with Anne Frank.
ILANA GLAZER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: Otto Frank applied to get his family here. We have to remember this sadly anti-Semitic history of World War II in the United States, as well.
ILANA GLAZER: Is he a Jew, Stephen Miller?
AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Miller is Jewish.
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah, there’s—
AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Miller’s rabbi, during the High Holy Days, called him out by name. And then Stephen—and then David Glosser, his uncle, wrote this piece. We interviewed him the day after the slaughter in Pittsburgh, because he spends his time now—he’s a doctor, a retired doctor—working with refugees, working with HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency—
ILANA GLAZER: Wow!
AMY GOODMAN: —that has helped to resettle so many thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish refugees, refugees from around the world. That’s what Bowers called out, the gunman who slaughtered—
ILANA GLAZER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —the Jews in Pittsburgh. He referred to HIAS and talked about the “invaders” coming in.
ILANA GLAZER: Quoting President Trump. You know, it’s just a crazy time. And I think that there’s also these—I keep seeing these like Jews for Trump, and it makes me so angry as a Jew. And like, you know, this Kanye West stuff is—as, you know, I was in senior year when his—when College Dropout came out—I mean, just devastating, you know? But white supremacy is this disease in this country that can affect—any body can be the host of this disease, you know?
And Trump is—sees that. He’s just a PR guy. I like always say—I was saying in stand-up for a while, and then it stopped being funny, he called himself the “blue-collar billionaire.” He just wanted to be on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He wanted to be the billionaire on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Now he has this actual, actionable power. And he is wielding it so dangerously. Doesn’t care who dies—children. We’ve seen Latino children in cages. He doesn’t care. And in that—you know, I learned on Democracy Now!, it was also Latinos who were having to police those children. That’s what they do by design. They don’t even do the dirty work, these Republicans in their offices.
And I also just want to say it’s a great time for Republicans who disagree with white supremacy to come and speak out and make this not a partisan issue, but a human rights issue.
AMY GOODMAN: And it’s also very important, what you’re saying, that white supremacy can occupy any body, any color.
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right. That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank Ilana Glazer for joining us. And if you could end by sharing your thoughts last night? As you came to the synagogue and you’re just getting ready for this big event—hundreds of people are streaming in—how you learned?
ILANA GLAZER: You know—
AMY GOODMAN: Sort of the information dribbling in about the racist and anti-Semitic graffiti.
ILANA GLAZER: My co-founder, Glennis Meagher, came in very rattled and nervous. And she is very professional. And also, she’s Irish, not Jewish, but is like a Holocaust studies person. You know, it’s different when it’s like, oh, they’re writing stuff about—they weren’t writing stuff about Ilana Glazer; they were writing stuff about Jews, you know. But like my group versus her and, you know, her fear and her, whatever, experience and the bodies we occupy. But Glennis told me, and she was sort of tempering the information, but she didn’t have it, either, but—have it all, either. But she had been—just found it out from the cops. And then we went out to look at it. And I called you to let you know it was happening. And you were like, “What does it say?” And I was like, “You know, actually, I don’t know.” And you prompted us to go see for ourselves.
And it was just this bizarre like game-time-decision mentality of “What are we dealing with here? Ideology or physical harm?” And that gap is so close now. Those words become actions so quickly these days. And as we ramp up to the midterms, this is—President Trump and other Republicans aligning with him, this is your PR? This is your platform? White supremacy? That’s it? That’s the “policy” that you run on? That’s how you’re getting your followers to act? Not canvassing, not playing the game the way the game was set up, but just cheating, just going into a temple or a black church and shooting up. That’s—
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, that story of what happened just before the 11 Jewish worshipers were gunned down, the story in Louisville—
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: —of two African Americans. First, this man named Bush tried to get into a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown—
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: —right outside Louisville.
ILANA GLAZER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: He couldn’t get in. And so he went to a Kroger supermarket and gunned down an African-American man and woman.
ILANA GLAZER: And said that whites don’t kill whites. And that black church was, unfortunately, sharp enough to have secured doors, you know? Like that this is how we have the opportunity to worship now.
This is the call to action. You know, Generator, I’m a—I am a Democrat. I align with that party. I’m trying to get people to act by canvassing, by playing the game the way the rules were set up. They are just inciting hate. I mean, it’s just cheating. It’s just—go play another game. That’s what I’m saying about Trump. I’m like, “Go be a comedian if you want to be funny, if you want to stand and rant. And just go be a comedian.” Like, it’s not—and if you also want to make a ton of money, like he’s in the wrong game. And he’s just twisting and abusing us as individuals, Americans, but our country and our system, that, you know, for as broken and gross as it is, for as analogous to a pop-a-pimple metaphor as it is, there’s like some pretty good ideas written down, that is the way that the country works, and he’s not heeding any of them. He’s really throwing the Constitution in the toilet.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what’s next for you? I mean next after last night, after having—
ILANA GLAZER: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —to cancel this event of hundreds because of the anti-Semitic and some racist scrawl on the walls of the synagogue. And this point is so important. If you didn’t think there would be physical harm, you would have continued anyway, right?
ILANA GLAZER: Yes, of course. Of course.
AMY GOODMAN: But you couldn’t know.
ILANA GLAZER: Right. That’s right. And every time we talked about it, we got to a certain point, and it was like, “We can’t do this,” you know? So, I’d like—I’m going to try to make a video today and also send your broadcast out to our followers to say what happened and point them towards these races, all the races in the local area that I believe in—Perry Gershon’s race, Andrew Gounardes, Jim Gaughran, Delgado—you know, all these local races. But, you know, just finishing up Broad City and getting my next stuff in line.
AMY GOODMAN: And what’s your next stuff in line?
ILANA GLAZER: Well, we’re editing for three months, which is fun. And then I have like a bunch of stuff next year, movies and stand-up and new stuff, you know, new vibes, familiar vibes. Yeah, just lining up 2019 as best I can.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ilana Glazer, all the best to you.
ILANA GLAZER: Thanks so much.
AMY GOODMAN: And thanks so much for coming in this morning. Last night was rough. Ilana Glazer is a comedian, writer and actress, the co-creator and star of the hit Comedy Central show Broad City.
ILANA GLAZER: Amy Goodman, you’re an American hero. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: To see Part 1—thank you, Ilana.
ILANA GLAZER: American hero.
AMY GOODMAN: To see Part 1 of this discussion, go to democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.