By Renee Lorenz Special to Published Jun 12, 2011 at 1:14 PM

For a little more than five years, the "broads" of broadminded comedy – Stacy Babl, Anne Graff LaDisa, Melissa Kingston and Megan McGee – have written and performed original sketches about all kinds of topics, ranging from science to "The Wizard of Oz."

When so much of their humor is drawn from their own experiences, though, it's no surprise that Milwaukee's "femme fatale" foursome of comedy would eventually work its way to the subject of family.

"Sometimes we just pick a theme and then write towards that theme, and sometimes the themes just kind of develop on their own," said Graff LaDisa. "For this one particularly, we noticed that we had a bunch of sketches that were kind of centered around family."

"Blood is Thicker than Liquor," like broadminded's other performances, will feature a mix of scripted comedy sketches and video. The broads create brand new sketches for each show, often channeling their ComedySportz beginnings in the creative process.

"We do a fair amount of improv when we're developing some of our sketches," said Kingston. "It's true creative control, to just pick something you think is funny and turn it into a sketch and play with all the different ways you can do it. There's a wide variety of paths you can take."

The new show promises a light-hearted mix of observations and parodies of quirky family behavior. The show and its sketches may be new, but getting a little inspiration from their nearest and dearest is a concept that's definitely not new territory for the show's creators.

"This wouldn't be the first time that we've had people in our lives influence the sketches that we write," said Graff LaDisa. "I think they're used to seeing little bits of things they might have said or things they might have done in sketches, even before this show."

Though it's loosely inspired by the broads' own bloodlines, audiences won't have to worry about getting left out of any "you had to be there" moments.

"Some of it's definitely inspired by different members of our families in part, but I think these things are true about our families and about all families," said McGee. "It's just as likely that someone else would be like, 'Wow, that scene was totally about my relationship with my mother!'"

The ability to relate to every audience member is something the members of broadminded strive for, in everything from their comedy itself to the possible origins of their lowercase name.

"I think that our thinking about it was that we didn't want to make that sort of female part of it so important," said Kingston. "We wanted to underplay that a little bit, because [our comedy] is written for everyone and we didn't want it to be that big old 'b' for 'broad,' so we left it lowercase. We definitely don't want people to think that we're just doing jokes about female things."

As McGee points out, the group's comedy is more known for its accessibility than anything else.

"We have four different people with different viewpoints. It just happens that we're all women," she explained. "Different people have different ideas of what's funny. Whoever comes to the show, there's going to be something or some character where they can totally relate. I do think there's a lot of breadth and a lot of variety, so there are some things that are super smart and clever and very layered and other things that are just plain bizarre or silly."

The broads perform "Blood is Thicker than Water" Thursday, June 16 and June 23-26 at the Alchemist Theatre. Already looking ahead to their next project, the group will perform in August at the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, and have a new themed project in the works for November. What it will entail, though, is still up in the air – and that's a big part of the fun.

"There's always more you can learn as a performer and a writer," said McGee. "Sometimes if we have a sketch where we might be like, 'Oh, this is totally a character that Stacy would play,' sometimes we'll cast Melissa, just to see what will happen, just to stretch each other."

And according to Graff LaDisa, it also doesn't hurt when everyone gets along.

"We rehearse once a week all year round, and try to do about three new shows a year, so it is quite a commitment," she said. "I think we generally like each other too, so that's helpful."

Renee Lorenz Special to

Contrary to her natural state of being, Renee Lorenz is a total optimist when it comes to Milwaukee. Since beginning her career with, her occasional forays into the awesomeness that is the Brew City have turned into an overwhelming desire to discover anything and everything that's new, fun or just ... "different."

Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltown goings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.