By John Benson
The News- Herald
May 12, 2014
Comedian Kathleen Madigan isn’t known for being macabre, but that’s how she ends a recent phone call from Detroit.
Madigan, who is scheduled to perform May 16 at PlayhouseSquare’s Ohio Theatre, offers this piece of information about her return to Northeast Ohio. “If I’m not there, check a morgue in Detroit,” Madigan laughed. “It means I went and did something crazy.”
Talk about crazy, Madigan loves the Rock Hall City. No, that’s not crazy (or is it?). It’s more about the fact that she just heard The Harbor Inn Café, her famously favorite bar in The Flats, may be for sale.
“I talked to someone earlier who said it might be for sale,” Madigan said. “I thought, ‘Maybe this is a baby Jesus leading me to my retirement, that I should buy The Harbor Inn Café. I don’t know how much it’ll cost, but I’m sure I can get a loan. I love that bar.”
Perhaps Madigan won’t need a loan considering her career appears to be in high gear with her second hourlong special, “Madigan Again,” premiering last year on Netflix. Not bad for the funny St. Louis native, who started out more than 20 years ago working the comedy club circuit.
Her career received a jump-start of sorts when she was a finalist on the second season of reality show “Last Comic Standing.” Now, a decade later, Madigan is revered as one of the hardest-working comedians on the road.
That explains why she was just nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for Best Concert Comic.
“If I won that I award, I think it would look like I was cheating,” Madigan said. “I think (Jim) Gaffigan does more shows. I don’t know. Like it’s very nice and you just want people to know that, ‘Yes, Kathleen is working just as hard as these other people.’
“I honestly didn’t really know what the prize was. I bet it’s not a lifetime supply of nicotine patches, which is what I would want.” When it’s pointed out the prize was more than likely a trophy, Madigan then discloses the only hardware she proudly has on display.
“I have all kinds of trophies, but the only trophy I keep out, because I think it’s hilarious, is I was the mid-Missouri hoop shoot champion girls age 12 to 13,” Madigan said. “I don’t want to brag, but four times in a row I hit 15 in a row underhanded free throws. No shame, not embarrassed. What did I do after I won that trophy? I retired like a smart person should. I never played basketball again.”
If this is how Madigan deals with receiving trophies, perhaps it’s a good thing she didn’t take home the American Comedy Award, which the comedienne said she was nominated for covering jokes about the news, her family, her religion, sometimes sports and her travel schedule.
“It’s funny, I told my brother I should just call my next DVD ‘Same Topics, Different Jokes’ because no matter how hard I think about it, I really go back to the same five topics,” Madigan said. “I’m never going to do celebrity gossip or serious politics. It’s really just the same.
“Like Gaffigan is usually talking about his family, kind of the same ilk. I’m never going to be Kathy Griffin and start talking about The Kardashians, because I don’t really know what they do and why I should know them, and nor do I care to find out. I don’t even care enough to Google it.”
So basically it sounds like Madigan’s topics are what one would expect to hear from barflies at The Harbor Inn Café.
She laughed, “Exactly.”