By: Kate Douds
February 26, 2015
Talking with Kathleen Madigan is like talking to an old friend — assuming the old friend has a wicked sense of humor and approximately zero tolerance for bullshit. Her stand-up
is no exception.
“I’m the lady at the end of the bar, basically, who walks in and you say, ‘Oh, how’ve you been?’ and then I just keep talking,” Madigan says. “Normally I would not talk for an
hour and 15 minutes to a stranger, but that’s the comedy show I do.”
That being said, Madigan’s fans are far from strangers. Over the course of her career she’s performed everywhere from California to Afghanistan, having developed a significant
following along the way.Her three stand-up comedy specials, including her most recent Detroit-based performance, “Madigan Again,” certainly hasn’t hurt. And although she chooses not to involve herself in the world of television and film, Madigan certainly doesn’t limit her humor to the stage. The comedian engages with fans via social media as well, live-tweeting everything from the Grammys to an episode of “House Hunters.”
Her interpersonal style and comfortable stage presence played a big part in the choice of venue. “[Variety Playhouse] is small,” Madigan says. “They said, ‘Do you want to move on to another venue?’ And I said I’d rather stay there and do two shows, just because of the vibe of the place. It just has a very casual, fun, very upbeat vibe.” Plus, there’s a bar across the street called [Euclid Avenue] Yacht Club that I really like [laughs].”
Although Madigan is a St. Louis native, she does have a history in Atlanta. Madigan once worked at the Funny Bone in Buckhead, as well as the Punchline Comedy Club. Madigan admits she doesn’t frequent clubs as much as she did as an up-and coming-comedian, but she is no newcomer to local comedy. “I was saying to a couple friends of mine, that [the Punchline] was one of those rooms that for whatever reason was just perfect,” she says. “I know that they’re closing in March and they’re going to try somewhere else, but I don’t think they can physically move the building and that’s what I would like them to do.”
After more than two decades in the business, Madigan’s ability to work her way up with few — if any — roadblocks is an accomplishment in itself. Having learned a lot from comedians she opened for along the way, such as Ron White and Lewis Black, she affirms there’s something to be said for just being able to naturally talk to people.
“[Stand-up] is not a matter of opinion: you either got laughs tonight or you didn’t,” she says. “It’s one of the two. And if you do get laughs, they’re going to want to hire you and pay you. I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky, because I just stumbled into something that is fun and it comes pretty easy to me. We feel that we’re getting away with it; we’re so lucky.”