By Robert DiGiacomo
Press of Atlantic City
April 23, 2014
If you’re looking for comedian Kathleen Madigan this weekend in Atlantic City, you have a good shot at finding her in one of two places.
“If I’m not playing video poker, I probably will be on the boardwalk eating at Flames (now called Bungalow Lounge & Restaurant),” says Madigan, who appears 8 p.m. Saturday, Ppril 26, at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City.
For the veteran stand-up, A.C. is as much a sure thing as her favorite local haunts. “I always have a great time, I always seem to sell a bunch of tickets,” she says. “There’s always a bunch of Irish Catholics who find me there — that always helps.”
The American Comedy Award winner is touring behind her latest hour-long special Madigan Again,” which debuted in September on Netflix and is now available on CD, DVD and audio or video download. Madigan has previously aired specials on Showtime, HBO and Comedy Central, and made the top three in NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” during Season 2 and served as a judge during Season 5.
Ahead of her latest A.C. appearance, Madigan talks about the benefits of going straight to Netflix and why she never wants to star in her own sitcom.
Q: As the middle child in a family with seven kids, did you have to be funny to stand out?
A: I think everyone in my family is pretty funny. When you’re from a big family, everyone is pretty mouthy. I didn’t know about passive-aggressive until I was 35 — I’m only familiar with aggressive-aggressive. I also went to Catholic school. Nobody was a class clown — you would have been thrown out.
Q: Unlike many of your comic peers, you never ventured into acting. What made you stick to stand-up?
A: All of a sudden, in the late ’80s and ’90s, comedians had to have sitcoms. I started in ’89 — we were comedians just to be comedians. That was the end game. Lewis Black, Greg Proops, Jim Gaffigan — there are probably 10 of us, where this is our job. I didn’t really want to be an actor or I would have done dramatic stuff.
Q: Why did you decide to go straight to Netflix for your latest special?
A: When I had a special on HBO, Comedy Central or another network, they would tell you the premiere date and not another thing. With Netflix, it’s on — it’s always on. You don’t have to do all this media build up for one night. You can say a month later, I have a new special. It’s on Netflix.
I think just as many people have seen it on Netflix as on Showtime, and Comedy Central isn’t really my demographic. (Netfix) just gives you a pile of money and you say, “Thanks.”
Q: With the special in release, will you be doing all new material in A.C.?
A: I’m amazed at comedians who say they’re retiring that hour. My act does what it does — it’s its own little thing. I take stuff out and new stuff fills the void. I have my special on Netflix, maybe 10 minutes of my act will be the same, and the rest will be new. If I do 10 minutes worth of old stuff, people will be happy, but I don’t want to do 50 minutes out of 70 that are the same. It’s a fine line to walk between getting criticized that you did too much old stuff and how come you didn’t do that stuff you did before.
Q: What gets the biggest response from audiences?
A: Anything about my dad and my family — that’s their favorite, and anything Catholic will be second. I work really hard on some big, giant thoughts, if we’re having an election. They attach to the stuff about my family, because its a reflection of their family. I always say, dance with the one that brought you. If talking about my dad is what they want me to do, I’m going to do it.