Could You Come Up With $700 By Midnight?

broad city kirk steele

Without spoiling anything about this week’s Broad City—and let me say that if you aren’t watching Broad City, you are missing one of the most hilarious shows about early adulthood ever written—the plot hinges on our heroines, Abbi and Ilana, coming up with $700 by midnight.

These two characters do not have an extra $700 sitting in their bank accounts. Abbi, who is responsible for the bulk of the $700, notes that it is equivalent to her rent payment. (Does this mean her NYC two-bedroom apartment costs around $1,400, and is that realistic? You’ll have to tell me.)

Abbi works a janitorial job at a boutique gym that probably pays just above minimum wage (currently $8.75 in New York), meaning she very likely earns around $10 an hour, or $20,800 per year. Tax-rates.org suggests she would pay $2,734.95 in federal taxes and $562 in New York state taxes, including FICA and Medicare, leaving her with $17,503.05 in gross pay, or $1,459 per month. I’m not sure whether unemployment and Social Security deductions are factored into Tax-rates.org’s calculations. Let’s just say that Abbi has a take-home of $1,400 a month.

This makes Abbi’s theoretical $700 rent a whopping 50 percent of her take-home pay, and I still find a $700 rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Astoria pretty hard to believe. (It’s not extraordinarily off the mark, according to Craigslist; a real-life version of Abbi might pay closer to $900.)

The point being that of course neither Abbi nor Ilana have $700 just sitting around, so they have to spend their 22 minutes of showtime hustling for the extra cash.

What about the rest of us? Right now, I could pay $700 in cash out of my bank account if I had to, and I’d still be able to make rent and pay all of my bills. Last year, I might have had to put the $700 on a credit card and figure out how to pay it later. (It is worth noting that neither Abbi nor Ilana consider credit cards or bank lines of credit as an option. They know you can go online and get approved in minutes, right?) If I were absolutely out of options, I could call my parents or ask one of my friends for a loan.

Could you come up with $700 by midnight, if you needed to?

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