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Ilana Learns How to Be a ‘Queen of Mean’ Waitress on ‘Broad City’

She learns the art of restaurant sass from RuPaul

At the beginning of the Broad City episode “Twaining Day,” Ilana is so broke that she decides to steal a potato from the fridge of her lover after a one night stand. “It’s cut in half, so it’s a lunch potato and a dinner potato,” she tells her BFF Abbi over FaceTime. But her luck changes when she applies for a job at Sushi Mambeaux, a restaurant that appeared on Sex and the City, once, 25 years ago.

At first, the manager, Marcel (played by RuPaul), is not impressed by Ilana’s resume or attitude. He tells her: “The only way to make it in the world of Manhattan restauranteries is to be a queen of mean — and girl, you don’t have it.” But after Ilana throws some shade at Marcel on the way out, he changes his mind and offers her a job.

Marcel introduces Ilana to the rest of the disaffected staffers — who have all been given absurd nicknames — before her first shift, and, as instructed, she promptly begins sassing the customers. “I’m sorry, we do not accept medicaid,” she tells one older couple. “Did you two take the bridge or the tunnel to get here today?” Ilana asks another table. The trick works, and the customers order more food to prove that they are worthy of dining at Sushi Mambeaux.

After a moment of reflection in the bathroom, Ilana decides that she doesn’t want to be mean to the customers to make a living. She tells Marcel that she wants to quit, but, just as Ilana is giving her notice, our hero accidentally trips another employee, (played by Sandra Bernhard), and Marcel is wowed by her ability to topple a fellow worker. The manger decides to give Ilana a new nickname — “Other Tonya,” since she knocked someone down, like Tonya Harding — and a better section of the dining room, where she can earn more money. Ilana remarks: “Fine, I’m in. But this time I’m doing it my way.”

When she returns from another moment of reflection in the bathroom, Ilana works a new kind of magic on her customers, by simultaneously charming them while upselling them on more food and drinks. “Are you guys high on weed?” she asks a table full of sleepy eyed kids. “I’m getting you 17 spicy escargot wontons, stat.” By being a “good witch, not a bad witch,” Ilana manages to pull in 800 bucks, and her journey into the belly of the restaurant beast is a complete success.

Check out a clip of her interview with Marcel above, and catch new episodes of Broad City Season 4 on Wednesday nights on Comedy Central at 9 p.m.

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