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No frills, just funny: Kathleen Madigan talks Madigan Again, her 2013 stand-up special

by Sean McCarthy
The Comic’s Comic
December 19, 2013

Kathleen Madigan opens her latest stand-up comedy special, Madigan Again in Detroit first with Lewis Black by her side on a street in front of the Monument to Joe Louis, then a minute later onstage being introduced by Black. To which she responded, in kind: “How about one big hand for a guy working for $500 tonight!”

Madigan’s friendship with Black comes up again at the tail end of the hour, in which she recounts her first (and potentially last) trip aboard a cruise ship to perform with him. She pays the kindness forward to other comedians, as she told The Comic’s Comic in an interview this month to coincide with the release of Madigan Again in physical and digital audio/video formats (it premiered earlier this year via Netflix).

As a DVD, it’s pretty no-frills (no bonus featurettes or extras), but then again, Madigan is a no-frills kind of gal from a no frills family. Always has been. Focusing on the job of stand-up and being a solid professional at it. She drinks. She smoked (until recently). She just rejoined a gym but would rather still hang out in the bar, joking, “I’ve never stayed at a gym so long I got kicked out.” Younger people may enjoy horror movies, but only because they’re neither old nor wise enough to be horrified by the real world just yet.

She keeps her comedian friends close and her Democratic Irish Catholic family from St. Louis closer (even if, as she spoke with The Comic’s Comic, she was set to sign paperwork to help her parents make the big move to Florida).

In Madigan Again, she confesses her love of Twitter, believing that any good thought should and has been boiled down to 140 characters already. But in my interview with her, she also acknowledged that in other respects, she remains hopelessly behind on technology. Not that that bothers her at all.

“I don’t even know how to record my sets on my phone,” Madigan said.

Even 25 years into her career, at a point when she can choose where and how she records her stand-up for sale, her personal recording device is a Sony Minicassette recorder. “I did Letterman a couple of months ago,” she said. “This guy, Ryan…he went to Fallon now…he asked me to send him a link (to her stand-up).” Nope. Not going to happen. Didn’t happen. “What would be really funny is if I sent him my minicassette, and say, ‘You can buy a player at Walgreens if they have one left, I can mail you mine but you have to mail it back.’ ”

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