An exclusive look at Broad Comedy’s new film short
A film by Katie Goodman
Featuring Danielle Cohn, Katie Goodman, Molly Kelleher, Tana Sirois, and Aubrey Lace Taylor
Directed by Katie Goodman
Written by Soren Kisiel
Director of Photography: Sam Henriques
“Welcome to the support group for people named Karen.”
Believe it or not, there are some people out there who are named Karen. That’s their actual name. People who must walk through their days knowing the very name their parents gave them is now an insult. This film is for them.
We’ve all seen angry and entitled ‘Karens’— throwing tantrums on the internet, threatening to call the police on bird-watchers of color, yelling at fast-food workers, making a scene in a Walmart. Many have wondered if, in a time of frustration, we were being too much of a Karen.
This film takes us to your local community center where women named Karen come together to support each other through this cruel twist of fate. Take a seat, Karen. We’re here for you.
My husband Soren Kisiel wrote this piece for Broad Comedy, the internationally touring, award-winning, all-women sketch comedy and political satire troupe that started its crazy little journey 20 years ago in Bozeman. Since then, Broad Comedy has run Off-Broadway, toured internationally, and has raised over $2,000,000 for Planned Parenthood and other progressive feminist causes through our comedy shows.
This piece started as a live scene first performed here in Bozeman at The Emerson last April. He had created a modern adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan‘s The Mikado for Intermountain Opera Bozeman, and had named a pushy and entitled character Karen. The joke landed well in the performances of the opera, but Soren felt guilty about it at each performance because the choreographer hired for the opera was named Karen! He wrote the sketch for Broad Comedy, you might say, to sort of humorously make up for it.
Surprisingly, we didn’t change a single word from stage to screen. Back in Brooklyn, we hunted down a perfect church who donated their space for the 8-hour shoot. With Emmy-Award-Winning Cinematographer Sam Henriques we were able to knock this puppy out in one day, complete with the challenges of shooting one scene over the course of 8-hours of changing sunlight in a space that had windows on 3 sides.
As any director will tell you, getting all the shots in in a limited amount of time is one of the biggest challenges. By the time we got to shooting the shots of our main character, played by Danielle Cohn, we were running low on time. Luckily Danielle was so familiar with the scene and character, and such a pro, she nailed the shot in 2 takes.
The concept of a ‘Karen’ has come to carry so much cultural complexity. The idea of a ‘Karen,’ of course, began as an important label for recognizing a very specific brand of weaponized entitlement and racial bullying. It made sense that it was a woman’s name, as it was specifically the “You’re threatening me” imagined-victimhood that was being called out: a white woman calls the police on a Black man, saying she’s being threatened and knowing that authorities will ‘protect’ her. But over time, and many, many memes later, this idea morphed into a more general calling out of the “Let me speak to your manager” tantrums—and so, as an ordinary woman’s name has become a generalized insult for obnoxious privilege, it’s also evolved into being uncomfortably anti-woman. Do white men not also need to examine their wielding of entitlement, racial or otherwise? Are we really going to call them Male-Karens?
But through it all… we can’t help but feel sorry for our friend Karen. That's her name. She’s a very nice person. You’d like her.
This award-winning 8-minute film, The Karens, can be viewed HERE on Vimeo while it is on the international festival circuit. Other Broad Comedy videos can be found on their YouTube channel and at BroadComedy.com.