The Broads return to Bozeman

“The Broads are an edgy satirical comedy troupe that tries to present perspectives that the audience is thinking but is much too polite to say. We try to ‘overshare’ in our writing, showing very frank and ridiculous observations about women and about life and about sex that leave the audience a bit scandalized but rolling in the aisles,” said Soren Kisiel, co-writer of the 15-year-old comedy musical, Broad Comedy, coming to the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture Nov. 20-22. He explained, “From the beginning we’ve always wanted to leave the audience a bit scandalized. We used to joke that if one couple walked out but everyone else gave us a standing ovation that was perfect.” His wife, Katie Goodman, co-writer, director and actress said, “If we can stand up on that stage and say what we believe, be complex and smart about it, and be hysterically funny, then we are living up to feminism and showing what women can do. We want to be role models to young women and show them what strength looks like.” The show, which has been to New York, Boston, Los Angeles and universities across the nation began in Bozeman, inspired by the political world at the time. Since the first show, Goodman and Kisiel have rewritten the acts as the world shifted. “The material has changed as politics have,” Goodman said. “We have complicated feelings about this administration, whereas the Bush administration was easier to just go for more black and white criticism. In a way it’s more interesting now.” Kisiel said, “Katie and I zip emails back and forth all year long: ‘Look what this politician said!’ ‘Look how this subway ad for breast implants says ‘Dream Big’ and right next to it the ad for a community college also says ‘Dream Big!’ And then from our pile of observations about our funny and confusing world, and Katie’s experiences as a woman in it, our show is born. There are pieces in this new show that 10 years ago we would have thought would scare our audience away.” After performing on Broadway, one might think Bozeman was too small a venue for such a popular show, but Kisiel refers to the community as a family. “There’s so much love in the room; it’s like a big party. And the amount of support and encouragement the Bozeman fans have given us over the years as we’ve taken Broad Comedy to a more national level has been absolutely amazing,” he said. Goodman said, “We love performing in Bozeman because it’s not different from the other places we play — Bozeman is kind of a mish-mosh of people who have lived all over the country, so we get to try material and tell if it’s going to work in other cities. We come back every fall to write an all new show. Then we take it on the road all year.” As the two write for the show each year, Bozeman always seems to be in their hearts. “The encouragement and love from our Bozeman fans is what leads us to keep developing it,” Kisiel said, “To keep honing and specializing what has become The Broads’ distinct and over-the-line comedy voice.” It makes sense to worry that the show, a uniquely feminist voice, might not attract a large male audience. However, Goodman said, “Men love our shows, and not just because it is a fantastic place to go if you want to impress women that you are a cool modern guy.” “My favorite sketches and songs are the ones where we have women talking very frankly about sexuality,” said Kisiel. “As the only man working with an all-female troupe, I’m privy to a lot of conversations about sex that women aren’t usually portrayed as having. When we can put that on stage, the women in the audience say, ‘Oh my God that’s me up there!’ and the men in the audience feel lucky to get to see a side of women that they usually don’t.” Broad Comedy celebrates opening night at The Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture Thursday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. and continues through Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at Cactus Records or online at broadcomedy.com. Tickets cost $21 in advance, $25 at the door and special student tickets are available for Thursday night for $15.