Before they took the stage, I was having a 3 Sheeps IPA with a cookie that had been handed to me by a time traveling housewife. Venerable all--woman sketch comedy Broadminded is opening it’s show this month with a different act each week. Opening night the opener was Professor Merryweather’s Time-Traveling Improv Show. It’s kind of a high-concept premise for improv: everyone in the group plays someone from a different era. It’s a fun show.
The Broads present another show that comes from a diversity of different angles on a loosely-defined theme. Each one of the four members of the group brings something distinct and unique to a very well-established connection that has built up between them over many, many years. And the comedy itself ranges from deeply satirical historical comedy two light observational humor to some very clever physical comedy that also engages emotionally.
As with any sketch show, some of the humor lands much more impressively than the rest of it. One of the more sophisticated sketches was “Women of the 1890s”--an imagined TV commercial for the opium that women were constantly being prescribed in the era of menotoxins. (Actually that was a concept that was proposed in the 1920s, but...y’know...women have been mistreated by medical science for SUCH a long time....ugh...) As real-life daytime pharmacist Anne Graff LaDisa spoofed about the benefits of opium, Melissa Kingston and Megan McGee engaged in some cleverly nuanced (yet somehow still completely over-the-top) physical comedy. It was a dual-track highbrow-lowbrow sketch that represents some of the groups better work.
Physical comedy engages on a few different levels over the course of the program. Kingston’s “Cell Problems” feels like a catharsis as much as it is a sharply physical, little episodic piece. “Losing My Edge” is an entirely nonverbal comedy bit that reaches a deep emotional level while playing around with delightfully accessible observational humor. Truly heartfelt emotionality salvages a few moments that might otherwise feel superficial. Stacy Babl gets perilously close to very simple and obvious physical comedy with a roll of duct tape, but she turns it out at the ends with an emotionally endearing punchline. Her “Mr. Fixit” sketch runs the risk of engaging in a bit more complexity than might be readily available through sketch miming...but the dynamic between her as husband and Kingston as wife gives the sketch a strong emotional center which effectively sells the sketch.
There’s some somewhat experimental moments in the show as well. The level of detail thrown into a presentation on Pointless charts is pleasantly dizzying and the delicate interplay between generations in a generational quiz show sketch is one of those rare sketches that manages to stick around in the psyche long after the show. Once again...Broadminded continues to show a distinct kind of comedy that’s so very difficult to find anywhere else.
Broadminded’s #Lifehacks continues through September 30th at the Interchange Theatre Co-Op on 628 N.10th St. For more information, visit Broadminded online.