By Doug Elfman
Las Vegas Review Journal
June 11, 2014
Kathleen Madigan and Lewis Black decided to go golfing when they were in Ireland in May, but even on a spring day, the wet wind blew a cyclone-ish 60 mph.
When the two Mirage comedians pulled up to the course, “it was about 48 degrees with sideways rain — real rain, not a nice Irish mist,” Kathleen said.
“I’m not doing this,” Kathleen said when she saw golfers wearing “rain suits.” (Kathleen performs stand-up this Saturday at The Mirage.)
“This is why I love golfing with a woman,” Lewis said. “I don’t want to do it either. But if I was with men, they would call me a ‘pansy.’ They would make me play in this (expletive).” So Kathleen and Lewis left and enjoyed a nice Irish breakfast somewhere Irish’y. In my mind, Kathleen and Lewis are always having comedic golf adventures, because they’ve told me about a few of them.
My favorite golf story of hers is about the time Lewis got upset in Florida and helicoptered an iron into an alligator den, and he threatened to go looking for it.
“Really?” Kathleen said to him. “The guy who’s afraid of squirrels? You’re afraid of squirrels, but you’re going in there where there are big signs that say, ‘Alligator Habitat, Do Not Enter?’ … I’ll turn my phone on, and I’ll film it, and I’ll make a billion dollars, because I’ll have the ‘Lewis Black Gets Eaten By An Alligator’ video.”
Kathleen is also close friends with Ron White (another Mirage headliner), and she has adventures with him. That’s why I think of Kathleen as a sort of Katharine Hepburn, and Lewis and Ron as her versions of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant.
“They really are,” Kathleen said after I presented my theory to her.
“Lewis is overly responsible, overly guilty, overly too-many-thoughts,” she said. “Lewis and I are never going to go out on a Friday to have a bottle of wine and end up in Mexico riding a pony.
“Ron is impulsive,” she said. “There’s not a lot of thought about what consequences may be. He’s just spur-of-the-moment Southern, ‘Let’s do that,’ and then you run into a wall at 90 miles an hour.”
How else are they different?
“Lew is still a nice Jewish boy. He’s not going to waste money. He’ll spend money, but then he feels bad because he could have given it to a charity,” Kathleen said. “Ron is like Elvis,” she said. “Ron will go buy a jet. With cash.”
Can she tell us a Ron story she won’t regret telling us? Oh, there was that big party in the Columbus, Ohio, Funny Bone, which was next to the condos where comedians stayed while in town.
“I just remember waking up in the bar. I remember people not making it home. I remember finding comedians in the bushes.
“But everything was safe. We were like in a biodome. We couldn’t get hurt. No one was driving. The worst you could do was fall in a bush.”
Kathleen golfs with Ron, too, but she prefers not to golf in Vegas during the summer, because her Irish heritage isn’t buoyant under desert sun. “I tried with Ron White. It was 102, and literally by the third hole, he was like, ‘Maddie, your face is purple.’
“We usually make drink bets,” she said. “But if I’m playing with Lew or Ron, everybody can afford the drinks, so the money’s not the fun part; making them go get them is the fun part.”
One thing Lewis and Ron have in common is, with age, they can promise her “some element of safety.”
“They’ve reached a level where no matter what happens, we have enough money to fix it, which is a problem when you’re young and you have no money (and the mindset is), ‘If you wreck the car, we are (screwed).’
“But now you can just call somebody and go, ‘I need another car here, I (expletive) this one up,’ and a car shows up
“I never thought I would see these things.”