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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.

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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
AL.com
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.

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Kathleen Madigan’s plainspoken comedy cuts through the noise

By John Wenzel
The Denver Post
April 2, 2014

For a comedian with dozens of TV and radio show spots, national tours and industry honors under her belt, Kathleen Madigan has remained surprisingly candid about her motivations.

Of course that’s part of 48-year-old Missouri native’s charm: unlike some of her peers, who put their stand-up on hold for acting careers, or whose material grows fussier and more self-satisfied over time, Madigan is an old-school touring performer with an unpretentious take on her craft.

“I do it for the sake of doing it,” Madigan said over the phone from Los Angeles this week. “I don’t write a joke for any other reason than to see if I can convey a funny thought in a way that you get why it’s funny. It’s like hitting a golf ball correctly: I just want to see if I can do it again.”

We caught up with Madigan in advance of her shows at Durango’s Community Concert Hall at Ft. Lewis on April 3, the Paramount Theatre on April 4 (which is sold out) and Fort Collins’ Lincoln Center on April 5.

Q: Like Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan and some other comics you play Colorado pretty consistently and always do really well here. Do you have any idea why that is?

A: One reason might be that I was in the regular rotation at Comedy Works for years, and you end up building a presence within the city. Denver’s one of those cities I visit once or twice a year and have been doing so for 20 years, almost since I started. And Colorado people really take to comedy. You’re one of the good ones.

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