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Theater Review (LA): ‘Broadly Speaking’ at ACME Comedy Hollywood

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Inspired by the book and PBS documentary “Half the Sky,” Broadly Speaking producers AnnaLea Arnold and Kate Luhr wanted to find a way to combine their backgrounds in comedy, storytelling and producing to give the women of the world a stronger voice. While hard-hitting documentaries about the global challenges confronting everyone can make a powerful statement, Broadly Speaking takes the opposite route, one that leaves audiences laughing while also providing tangible ways to bring about change.


Left to right: Kate Luhr, Maz Jobrani and AnnaLea Anrold. Photo by Kimberly Abruzzo.

Luhr says, “There are two things I believe in more than anything else. One is the power of comedy and the other is the power we all have to use our unique skills to effect positive change. I also strongly believe that tomato soup and grilled cheese is the greatest flavor combination ever concocted, but that really pales in comparison to the other two.”

Each month, a new episode of Broadly Speaking will be presented with different guests and a new worthy cause. On Monday, March 10th, the comedians were Dani Klein Modisett, who gave a reading, and Kira Soltanovich, who delivered a hilarious stand-up routine.

The cause of the evening was Mothers Fighting for Others, an organization founded by Rocky Turner, a mother of six who one day did a Google search on volunteerism in Africa and found herself becoming deeply involved with a girls’ orphanage outside of Nairobi. The organization works to provide vulnerable children the opportunities parents would normally have provided: a loving environment; a quality education; and a chance for a brighter future.

Maz Jobrani, founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, was invited onstage to play “The Game is Rigged,” in which the contestant plays a word game, a trivia game or a game of wits. As the title says, the game is rigged, and the audience is also invited to join in, “betting” what they can, which is donated to the cause. Mothers Fighting for Others realized donations of $1,000 – not bad for under two hours’ time.

Adding to the fun are the Strip Mall Debutantes, an all-female band who serve as a kind of Greek chorus throughout the evening, providing humorous musical commentary.

April’s show will feature comedians Jodi Miller (The Comedy Store, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, WTF book series) and Alex Alexander (The P.E.Z. Show, Two Broke Girls, Justified) and game show guest Gary Anthony Williams (The Internship, Raising Hope, Undercover Brother, Special Agent Oso). Proceeds will benefit WriteGirl. Date and location TBD; more information can be found on the Broadly Speaking website or by emailing Luhr and Arnold.

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About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.