'Broad City'

"Broad City" will air on Comedy Central. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / December 14, 2013)

NEW YORK — Late one evening in June, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are outlining an episode for their Comedy Central series, "Broad City," when their conversation turns to Superman — specifically, which incarnation of the Man of Steel is the hottest.

"To me, he's like the porn-star version of Superman," says Glazer, 26, pointing to Dean Cain's picture on the cover of an Entertainment Weekly issue commemorating the character's 75th anniversary. Jacobson, 29, agrees. "He's like a trashy Superman."

Christopher Reeve is cute but too "bird-like," says Glazer, while "Smallville" star Tom Welling is, according to Jacobson, "too young-looking. I think Ben Affleck would actually be a really good Superman. He's really hot and just seems like a really good guy."

GRAPHIC: Faces to watch 2014 | Entertainment

There are a few other digressions throughout their brainstorming session, including an anecdote about having breakfast at the same restaurants as "Law & Order SVU" star Christopher Meloni two days in a row in L.A. ("We were, like, 'This is a sign,'" Jacobson recalls.)

Mostly, though, they stay focused on the task of writing their series, in which they also star as heightened versions of themselves: Glazer, the uncensored wild child, and Jacobson, the sweet, slightly uptight one — women in their 20s navigating the challenges of being young, broke and not-particularly fabulous in New York City.

Premiering Wednesday and adapted from their popular Web series of the same name, "Broad City" is generating special interest, thanks in part to the involvement of executive producer Amy Poehler. The "Parks and Recreation" star also directs the season finale and is one of many big comedy names to make a guest appearance. They include Fred Armisen, Rachel Dratch, Jason Mantzoukas and Amy Sedaris.

Poehler was impressed by Glazer and Jacobson's energy and work ethic but most of all by their dynamic.

"Voice and tone and chemistry are elusive things that you either have or you don't," she says. "They're hard to manufacture, and I thought Abbi and Ilana had them. They have a real friendship that shows on-screen."

On the set: movies and TV

At least on paper, "Broad City" is not an obvious fit for Comedy Central, which skews about 60% male and is one of the top channels for the elusive demographic of men 18 to 34. But the network has been undergoing significant changes, and this is yet one more sign.

For Glazer and Jacobson, suburban transplants who first met in 2007 while studying improv at the comedy breeding ground the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, there's a rather indistinct line between work and simply hanging out.

After all, lurking in nearly every tangent is a potential comedic fodder. Case in point: On the wall behind Jacobson are dozens of index cards scrawled with ideas for the show, many gleaned from real-life experiences and observations ("Big dogs are a bummer"; "Ilana wants Frida Kahlo eyebrows"; "Cashier: 'You want a large?'")

The banter between the two women will be familiar to fans of the Web series the duo began to write, produce and star in in 2009. At the time, Glazer, an NYU grad, and Jacobson, who studied art in Maryland before briefly enrolling at the Atlantic Acting Conservatory, were working thankless day jobs and performing at night at the UCB. They were hungry to create something more tangible — mostly as a way of reassuring their parents of their employment potential.

WINTER TV PREVIEW: Full coverage of the season's shows

"Broad City" began as a pleasantly low-concept affair, one that yielded sharp comedy out of the familiar terrain of urban living — smug yoga instructors, awkward subway run-ins, dating mishaps. Some of the episodes were structured as video chats, something Glazer and Jacobson often did in real-life because they lived in separate boroughs and seeing each other in person meant an arduous subway ride.

The friends eventually figured out a way to be in the same place as much as possible by scoring jobs at Lifebooker, a website that sells discount spa treatments. There, they plotted the series in between the occasional call to a salon to solicit cut-rate keratin treatments.

The show gradually became more ambitious, at least by the DIY standards of the Internet: In one episode, Abbi has an elaborate, surreal dream about Ilana, and another is a spot-on spoof of "Do the Right Thing." The series also generated a following in New York's downtown comedy scene, with fellow up-and-comers Hannibal Buress and Sasheer Zamata making appearances.

Through an instructor at UCB, they asked Poehler if she'd guest star in the second season finale. To their surprise, she not only said yes but also agreed to come on board as executive producer of a television adaptation. The actress has comedy cred as well as experience nurturing female-driven content: She co-created and produced the animated series "The Mighty B!," about a determined girl scout, and the online show "Smart Girls at the Party," in which she interviews ambitious preteen girls.

"She presented a vision of this project that we didn't have," Glazer says. "She could see the big picture, what the image and branding of what 'Broad City' would be."