Broad Comedy, Bozeman’s homegrown, all-woman comedy troupe, celebrates its 15th anniversary with three shows Nov. 20-22 at the Emerson Center.
In honor of that milestone, we asked Katie Goodman a few questions about the company she and her husband, Soren Kisel, founded in 1999. She took time out from preparing for a show at Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York City to email answers.
LT: What brought you to Montana originally?
KG: We were looking for a smaller community where we could make a difference. We had been living in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and it was very hard to create ongoing community there.
LT: What made you think, 15 years ago, that an all-woman comedy troupe with a left-wing, wildly irreverent slant could work in Bozeman (or anywhere in Montana)?
KG: Isn’t it an obvious fit?? We had been running the Equinox Theater already for many years and our audiences showed us they were hungry for this stuff.
But I think we not only satisfied a hunger but created one … You don’t always want to just give an audience what you think they want to hear. You kind of need to just say what you say and hope they come. “If you bill it they will come,” was my slogan!
LT: How do you keep it fresh? Where do you shop for material?
KG: We shop for material from life. I know that sounds silly, but honestly I have more napkins with little ideas written on them when we are out having drinks or lunch with friends. The napkins are now text messages that Soren and I send to each other as reminders to write something about this or that.
We also pay attention to pop culture and the news, of course. But really, so much of it is from just walking around on the planet, being parents, being frustrated with politics, and trying to be happy. There’s plenty of material just in living.
LT: You’re the daughter of a famous newspaper columnist (Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman) and headlines certainly seem to provide fodder for your sketches. How has your mom’s work influenced your own?
KG: All of my parents have influenced my work. I have four and I have four in-laws!
My mom certainly influenced me, raising me as a feminist, and my dad influenced me as a surgeon in terms of caring about people in the world, and ummm, dissecting it?? Little pun there.
LT: The current political climate for progressives is dismal. Is laughter helpful?
KG: The reason laughter is helpful – and it always is – is it helps us gain some perspective. If you can laugh at something it means, by definition, you have stepped back a little bit and can see it all better. This helps us keep our energy up to work as activists for change.
LT: How would you describe the voice, or seasoning your husband brings to the troupe?
KG: Soren’s voice is brilliant. I have zero feminist problem with saying I definitely couldn’t do this without him. But more importantly I wouldn’t want to. Many, many times he is the one who said, “Hey wait a second, as a feminist are you sure you want to be saying that?”
Plus he certainly is helpful in making sure that men really love Broad Comedy too.
LT: What makes you laugh?
KG: Almost anything smart and slightly edgy can make me laugh. I don’t really laugh at comedy that hurts and makes fun of people, unless there’s a smart edge to it. Or it’s saying something that hasn’t been said. Or it’s political.
I take that all back. I do laugh at things that make fun of certain sides of the aisle. Ha!
For details on the Bozeman shows, visit www.broadcomedy.com.