Kathleen was a guest on the Free Beer and Hotwings show talking about her upcoming Laughfest appearance, jokes and family.
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Free Beer and Hotwings Morning Show
February 27, 2015
We talked to Kathleen about a bunch of topics including the incredible LaughFest lineup, the feeling when things aren’t going well on stage and about how her family feels when they’re the butt of the jokes. She’s one of our favorites and we had a great time talking to her.
February 26, 2015
Edge Media Network
Gilda’s LaughFest announced that this year’s Signature Event will celebrate the festival’s fifth year, and five years of smiles in West Michigan, with a lineup of returning LaughFest comedians coming together for the first time ever. Additionally, LaughFest has announced the remaining acts for the 2015 Festival, which runs from March 5-15.
The Signature Event will take place on Tuesday, March 10 at DeVos place and will be hosted by Michael Kosta, the winner of LaughFest’s 2011 stand-up competition. The event will feature headlining acts from LaughFest’s past years including Jim Breuer, Kathleen Madigan, Sinbad and Justin Willman. Additional LaughFest acts announced today include Cristela Alonzo, Orny Adams, Hen Sapp, Improv Cinema and Don’t We Boys with Dubalicous.
“This is our fifth festival and Signature Event, so to celebrate those five years of smiles and Gilda Radner’s legacy of laughter, along with the fifteen year anniversary of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, we’re bringing back some of LaughFest’s most talked about acts to our Signature Event,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and LaughFest. “These performers will come together for an amazing evening of laughter and entertainment while supporting the mission of Gilda’s Club.”
“I’ve always been aware of the way that Gilda paved the way for female comics,” said Breuer, who was named one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. “She left such a lasting impression on the comedy industry and SNL fans. While she left us way too soon, her legacy lives on through the incredible work of Gilda’s Club. I had a great time at LaughFest in 2013 and can’t wait to get back to Grand Rapids to be a part of this amazing event.”
Winner of the American Comedy and Phyllis Diller awards for Best Female Comedian, Madigan has a successful comedy career that spans 25 years. She’s appeared with late night performers Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson. Her third hour-long special, “Madigan Again,” was named one of the best comedy albums of 2013 by iTunes.
“I was really happy to hear that I was invited back to Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids,” said Madigan. “I did it in 2011 and was blown away with this relatively small city that just blew the doors off of how to do a festival. I’ve been correctly quoted that its the best festival in the country right now. No politics, just all funny people. I was a big Gilda Radner fan and paying tribute to her with a great festival is perfect. And, from performing in Michigan for 25 years, it’s hard to find better crowds. I’m coming early to watch other comics. Can’t wait!”
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.”
By: Lee Valentine Smith
When you perform, it really looks like you truly enjoy what you do.
That’s real. I don’t even have to fake it. No matter how crappy the day, or if I have the flu or whatever, it’s still fun. And that’s why I prefer live shows to doing a sitcom or a movie. It’s the energy of the people. I couldn’t sit here and do it for myself. Well, I could, but it would be the first sign before I end up in the psych ward! I just love the energy of live people. They got off the couch, hired and sitter and came to the show. Good for them!
So many comics are angling for a sitcom or a movie, or a hosting gig.
Yeah and even my agents don’t really get it. From the beginning, my goal was to be a comedian. I’ve reached it, so why can’t I just do it? I blame it mostly on Oprah and Tony Robbins and all those people. If you have a goal and you’ve reached it, you’re supposed to immediately reset your engines? Why? This is fine.
You’re in a great position. Like this tour, it’s not arenas, its comfortable theaters.
This is the spot. I’d never want to be at a Madonna level of fame. Jerry Seinfeld has reached it, Chris Rock has reached it, but they can still do a club in New York if they want to. People would be excited but they’re not like lunatic, rock star fans. This is perfect. The theaters I’m playing, most of them are like 1500 seats, so we’ll have a good time.
And it sure beats one-nighters.
Oh yes. I don’t want to go back to those. I could, but I don’t have to now. I put on Twitter, that’s essentially what Bill Cosby’s shows are now. His shows have essentially become “Second Show Fridays in a comedy club.” Notoriously, the worst shows of the week. People go to Happy Hour, and head to the Punchline or whatever and by 11 o’clock they’re hammered and out of control. In a theater, with ushers that are basically my mother’s age who have never seen anyone misbehave, they’ll go “Shhhh!” Cosby shows have turned into “sex-joke Fridays” because there are basically no bouncers! Literally, you have 70 to 75-year-old ushers who only wanted to see the Sound Of Music sing along.
You were on the second episode of the new Larry Wilmore show on Comedy Central.
I love him. He’s so smart, so irreverent, without even trying. That’s just Larry. I’m gonna be back on there soon. I like it that they’re gonna spend time on one subject.
He certainly doesn’t steer clear of controversial topics or hot-button issues.
Not at all! And I’m glad. You know, I think for people in our age-range, we’re kinda sick of the five-second mentality. If I sat around with Lewis Black and Larry and we’re talking about Bill Cosby, we’re gonna spend some time on it; more than 30 seconds. To have a good discussion, we need to keep talking.
But in your own act, you aren’t directly controversial or combative at all.
No, I don’t like it. It’s not my thing, and I think it’s because I’m the middle child of a big family and I prefer no commotion, if we can somehow arrange that. I’m here to point out the absurd – in a funny way. I’m not here to change your mind, really. For me, that’s the way the job gets done.