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Comedian Kathleen Madigan says she’s looking forward to visiting UPAC in Kingston

By Paula Ann Mitchell
Daily Freeman

Kathleen Madigan will flat out tell you she has “good taste in men.”

“They’ve been supportive, nice and fun,” she said earlier this week by phone from her home in Los Angeles.

“Honestly, I’ve never had any issue with male attitudes in this business. Every single guy has been nothing but wonderful. I have four brothers, so maybe I just get it.”

Madigan, hailed in recent years as one of the most brilliant female comedians, took a moment in anticipation of her Sunday appearance at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston to dissect the perceived anti-woman sentiment in the industry, particularly the most recently expressed by veteran entertainer Jerry Lewis last spring. “My experiences with guy comics and even club owners have been positive, and I’ve been very happy with the money I’ve made. I think it’s like a sort of a minor problem that magnifies and keeps building,” said the 49-year-old Missouri native.

Fact of the matter is some of the best-known and most beloved comedians in the world have sung Madigan’s praises.

Jay Leno calls her “one of America’s funniest female comics,” while Ron White describes her as “easily, one of the best comics alive.”

The 25-year veteran who was nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for “Best Concert Comic” will be bringing down the UPAC house on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Though she’s been in the Northeast countless times, Madigan has never done a show in the MidHudson Valley, and a lot of it is just a blur for the well-traveled Madigan.

“I could be in New Hampshire and think I’m in Vermont,” she confessed when pressed about her regional appearances.

Even so, Madigan, who has performed on almost every standup TV show, including 15 times on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” promises to beguile her Hudson Valley fans with her signature sarcastic humor that includes a lot of barbs about her Irish-Catholic upbringing. Just don’t go expecting her to be heavily scripted or to tailor her act for this region of the country.

“My theme is I don’t have a theme,” Madigan said. “Sometimes, I like to poke fun at the South because they have some serious idiosyncrisies, but people are people. That’s the first thing you learn about going on the road. Really, they’re all just the same.

“If I have to describe my act, it’s like the movie ‘Arthur.’ It’s an escape, a mental vacation, which is what I think entertainment is supposed to be.”

Though a deeply embedded notion in Madigan, she didn’t go about planning a career in comedy. In fact, it was one of those things she discovered she was good at while pursuing a career as a writer.

Madigan earned a journalism degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1988 and picked up work as a reporter for St. Louis-based newspapers. She also held a position in the publications department at the Missouri Athletic Club.

At about that time, Madigan began frequenting comedy clubs, where she performed during open mic sessions and discovered she had a bent for making people laugh.

Over the years, Madigan has credited her father, Jack, for encouraging her to go for it, and she hasn’t looked back. Her career began with the national chain of comedy clubs called The Funny Bone, and from there, it skyrocketed, according to her website,

Not only has she won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Comedian” and the Phyllis Diller award for “Best Female Comedian,” but she has written and produced for Lewis Black’s “Root of all Evil” on Comedy Central and for Gary Shandling’s Emmy monologues, her website notes.

She’s also done two USO tours to Iraq and Afganistan with comedic peers and friends like Lewis Black, John Bowman and the late Robin Williams. Moreover, Madigan has performed during concerts for Kid Rock, The Zac Brown Band, Kix Brooks and Kellie Pickler.

On top of all that, she remains the only comedian in the history of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” to go unchallenged by any other comedian and was a top-three finalist during season two and a judge during season five, the website says.

Madigan also can be heard on nationally syndicated radio shows like “The Bob and Tom Show” and “The Stephanie Miller Show” and has been repeatedly voted the No. 1 audience favorite on SIRIUS-XM Radio.

While all this sounds monumental, there are a few things Madigan has never done before that she’s aiming for before she calls it quits.

Playing golf in Bend, Oregon, and visiting Maine are priorities. Another is to live in Ireland at least four months of the year. Probably her biggest dream is to tour Canada by bus, visiting comedy clubs and performing arts venues along the way.

“I’m on TV in Canada and I always get people asking, ‘Why don’t you ever come to Canada? Why do you hate us?’

“It’s complicated. It’s hard if you’re not Canadian. They’re very loyal. They drive down here to see me. I should get my ass up there, even if I break even and don’t make a dime. I’d be really mad if I retired and didn’t get to do the Canada thing.”

For now, Madigan, who has gone on record saying she enjoys playing clubs and theaters over television, said she’s looking forward to visiting the Kingston venue on Broadway, and she’s hoping to make that personal connection with her fans, whom she hopes will sit back, relax and escape.

Just don’t expect her to get too confrontational. Madigan claims that’s simply not her style, prefering instead to toss out “silly, innocuous” and relatable jokes.

“I would never do something that I thought would hurt someone’s feelings,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to get too serious because that’s going against the point. I don’t want to wake up to a Twitter feed of people screaming at me.”



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Kathleen Madigan on Why She Admires Joan Rivers, Doesn’t Fight With Lewis Black, and Could’ve Predicted the Ferguson Tragedy

By: Benjamin Leatherman
Phoenix New Times
September 17, 2014

Stand-up comic Kathleen Madigan has never been shy about skewering herself. In fact, she can be both candid and clever when joking about her drinking habits, gambling habits, lack of ambition in the gym, Irish-Catholic upbringing, or perpetual singlehood while onstage or in her most recent special, the hilarious Netflix special from last year, Madigan Again.

The comedienne also gets especially snarky when riffing on pop culture and topical issues, except when it comes to certain current events of a tragic nature. Despite comedy’s well-known formula of “tragedy plus time,” Madigan told us during a recent interview via telephone that she refrains from cracking wise about “things that are just are stupid tragic, like 9/11″ when performing.

“There’s some comics who say there’s never anything off limits, and I guess that’s true, but I try to shy away from stuff that I know was painful for a lot of people,” Madigan says. “Like they don’t need to be reminded of that at a comedy show. You can’t go a comedy show to escape.”

Our conservation wasn’t entirely of a ponderous nature over social issues, as we also discussed her friendship with fellow comic Lewis Black, her longtime admiration of Joan Rivers, and how she attended the late comedienne’s final performance in New York.

How much of an influence was Joan Rivers on you, either personally or in your comedy career?
I was always a big fan. Here’s why she appealed to me: I liked that Joan Rivers’ primary job was just being a comedian, just telling jokes. Yes, she had the fashion thing, the side thing later in life, but there were so many people who go, “How come you don’t have a sitcom? How come you’re not in movies?” Well, I didn’t start comedy to do a sitcom; I never even thought about that, I just liked being a comedian.

I reached my goal, I’m doing my goal. I don’t understand why I’m supposed to have another goal. I don’t know who started that crap. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a sitcom or any of that, I’m just a bigger fan of the people that go [onstage], just because I feel that I relate to that more. There’s nothing more fun than telling jokes in front of live people to me.

Read the full article…



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You won’t read a success story like Madigan’s again

By Jackie Varriano
The Register Guard
September 12, 2014

Founded in 1983, Montreal’s “Just for Laughs” is the largest international comedy festival in the world.

Comedian Kathleen Madigan has appeared at the festival six times over her 25-year career. And it was at one of those appearances that she was asked by a journalist if performing at the festival was a “dream come true for her.”

Madigan replied that she didn’t want to sound rude, but that she had never had this dream — the dream of being a comedian who appears at the largest comedy festival in the world.

“I did go to the horse track with my dad every Friday night, and I wanted to be the first woman to win the Kentucky Derby. And had I done that I could say, ‘Oh, this is a dream come true,’ ” she said during a recent phone call.

“But I never thought about being a comedian. It never entered my mind.”

While there still hasn’t been a winning woman jockey at the Kentucky Derby (the closest is Rosie Napravnik, who finished fifth in 2014), Madigan is firmly ensconced in the world of a touring comedian. And I don’t think we’ll get her on a horse any time soon.

But just like Rosie Napravnik, Madigan holds her own in a male-dominated scene. She’s got a blue collar, Irish Catholic background. Her act is a collection of stories of her family, observations of the world and more, all told in her low, slightly raspy voice.

Her direct, no-nonsense style has turned heads on such shows as “Last Comic Standing” and E!’s “101 Best Celebrity Oops!” She’s been a guest on “The View,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and many more.

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At the Casinos: Comedian Kathleen Madigan brings ‘mental vacation’

By: Lawrence Specker
August 4, 2014

Comedian Kathleen Madigan has an appetite for Biloxi. And she’s not just looking forward to the stage at IP Resort, Casino & Spa, where she’ll perform on Saturday, Aug. 9.

“My biggest expectation is that I’m going to have time to go to Mary Mahoney’s, with the greatest crab claws in the history of America,” she said. “And I like the bar there. … I plan on watching the sunset and going to Mary Mahoney’s and after that — oh! — The [Half Shell] Oyster House, for the grilled Cajun oyster. I’m not even a foodie, that’s how good the food is in Biloxi.”

One gets the sense, talking to Madigan, that she has a way of making herself at home in just about any situation. Probably that’s because she’s at home with absurdity, and sees it wherever she looks.

Fans watching her Twitter feed this summer have seen her get fired up by both the World Cup and the British Open. In the latter event she was obviously thrilled with Rory McIlroy and amused by Tiger Woods’ efforts to explain his lackluster performance.

Read the full article…



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Mega Stars of Comedy Review

Montreal Gazette
July 26, 2014

Friday night, the Just for Laughs late gala was host-less with a lineup crammed with strong comic personalities: Lewis Black, Tommy Tiernan, Ron White, Loni Love, Shaun Majumder, Kathleen Madigan, Mike Wilmot and Marc Maron. The critics are Bill Brownstein and me (Denise Duguay). Read our reviews below. Check over the weekend as we report back from Saturday galas hosted by Bill Burr and Seth Rogen and Sunday galas hosted by Jim Gaffigan and Russell Peters. (Note: We weren’t able to get a photographer to the gala Friday night, but you can view photos of the gala hosts and performers so far right here. We’ll have fresh photos from Saturday night.)


BB: This is what a gala should be. Mega-Stars as a title for this show is not a stretch here. Pretty much wall-to-wall hysterics. And without some disinterested sitcom-star doing a bogus job of hosting and flubbing lines from the teleprompter. Organizers would be hardpressed to put together a much stronger lineup. Okay, the addition of Louis C.K., Bill Burr, TJ Miller, Jim Gaffigan and Jerrod Carmichael would have been comedy heaven. But no complaints whatsoever with Lewis Black, Mike Wilmot, Tommy Tiernan, Marc Maron, Kathleen Madigan and Ron White. My guts were aching. Wish I could have bottled all their bits together and break it out during the bleakest days of February.

DD: What is the best treatment for a tooth ache? Comedy! The inevitably unsuccessful last-minute call to the dentist Friday afternoon and regular doses of ibuprofen are not doing the trick. But this all-star lineup had me laughing hard enough to forget the pain for nearly two hours.


BB: None. And thank-you comedy gods for small mercies.

DD: I like having a host and missed one Friday night. The evening was overall very strong, but it took a while for the momentum to build, which I’ll blame in part on the dead pauses between acts.


BB: Where to begin? Madigan on her mom’s wish to sit in the front of the plane, because she thinks it’s safer: “When was the last time you saw a plane back into a mountain?” The ever-raging Maron: “I live alone … I guess that should be clear.” Maron on empathy: “I didn’t know what it was and, coincidentally, I was incapable of it.” Black on current American espionage: “We’re spying on Germany now … too late!” Black on poll of Amercians’ love of Congress: “More people love lice and colonoscopies than Congress – and nobody loves lice and colonosopies.” Black on colonoscopies: “Things came out of me that I had long forgotten about … like the watch my grandfather gave me for my bar mitzvah.” The ever-ragjng Wilmot: “I just quit smoking and my wife is full-on menopausal … Wanna come over?” Wilmot on trying to will himself to death as a consequence of the latter: “She thinks I’m not listening. No, I’m just trying to stop my heart with my brain.” White on a killer whale at SeaWorld that killed people: “That’s why they’re called killer whales, not ocean ponies.” And the barking-mad Tiernan on everything from his three year-old child from hell to his Maori rugby war-dance to his view on Irish evolution: “We’re not Celts. We’re anemic Algerians.” Best gala yet. And one that could be awfully hard to top.

DD: Madigan on not being able to sleep over at her parents’ Florida apartment complex because she doesn’t make the 55+ age requirement and her suggestion for how to make Sarah McLachlan’s pet-rescue commercials more successful (a beagle puppy in one hand, a pistol in the other and a clock in the background: “If someone doesn’t make a donation in 45 minutes…); Maron on hipster coffee, his cat Monkey and, of course, his victory at, if not stemming the tide of his “river of rage,” then progress (“Closing the gap between outburst and apology, the best I can do. ‘Shut the f-ck up and I’m sorry!’ … Contempathy.”); Dr. Lewis Black’s visceral guide to colonoscopy prep; Love on Morgan Freeman (“Has Morgan Freeman ever been young? Like he was born 65!”); Wilmot on quitting smoking (instead of the measly nicotine patches, “I want a nicotine onesy that I can crawl into.”) and discovering that cooked (and sometimes uncooked) chicken is a survival strategy for living with his pre-menopausal wife; White on airport-security revenge (I take two Viagra and demand a pat down!) and every word that Tiernan barked.


BB: None. Zilch. Either that or someone slipped me some mighty fine meds.

DD: The evening got off to a slow start with Shaun Majumder, which seemed due to slow-building audience energy more than his performance.



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