By John Beck
February 13, 2014
During President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, comic Kathleen Madigan was hard at work on Twitter. She was recording the show, then rewinding and freezing
frames to take photos and post to Twitter.
Example: Photo of Vice President Joe Biden smirking behind a somber President Obama, while pointing to someone in the audience — “My place after this? Yeah you. Oh yeah.” It’s what she calls “the bonus material.”
“My friend Lewis Black doesn’t get it,” she says. “But I love Twitter. It’s so instantaneous.”
It’s also known as the free stuff that comics dangle like catnip to keep their fans on the line until the next show.
A decade after she was named a finalist on the TV show “Last Comic Standing,” Madigan is still going strong at 48, or as she puts it: “My whole career has been built on the next thing. I’ve never had a big thing. It’s just a continuous series of keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it.” Before the dry, observational comic drops in for laughs Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, she took time out to chat about Twitter, chicken wire and Dudley Moore.
Q: It used to be a comic could come home and just shut down and turn off. Now on Twitter you have to be on 24-7.
A: And some of the stuff isn’t even meant to be funny. It’s just extra stuff. Sometimes somebody will say, “That wasn’t a funny joke.” I’m like, it wasn’t a joke, jackass. Do you want to get to know me? Or do you just want jokes all the time?
Q: Can you imagine if we could have live-tweeted the 1994 police chase of OJ Simpson in the white Bronco?
A: How fun would that have been? We didn’t even have cell phones back then. I remember I was headlining that night and I went on just as the chase started and I came back and they were still chasing him. For once, I was in on the action.
Q: I’m thinking all that tweeting and taking pictures of the TV is hard work. There’s got to be a comic out there who has someone doing that for them. Like we’re going to see a new comic come out in a few years and he’ll be billed as “the guy who live-tweeted for Jerry Seinfeld for the past three years.”
A: You’re always thinking of the future. I never thought of that. I’m always a year behind. That’s the story of my life.
Q: What’s the perfect show like for you these days?
A: A venue where you can bring drinks in? I like the ones where they supply those adult sippy cups so people don’t ruin the fancy carpet.
Q: How about the worst shows you’ve done?
A: I saw a movie the other night where this guy was playing guitar behind chicken wire and I said, “I’ve done that!” I did shows like that in Kansas where they’ve put chicken wire up because people like to throw bottles at the stage.
Q: I promise they won’t throw bottles in Santa Rosa. What should we expect in your show?
A: It’s a mental vacation. Did you like the movie “Arthur”? Yes. Did it change your life? No. But when you think of it, you smile. That to me is my act. It’s basically “Arthur.” If you want to check out and laugh, fine, but I’m not going to change the world.