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Kathleen Madigan and the art of funny business

By: Kara Pound
Folio Weekly
January 21, 2015

Comedian Kathleen Madigan doesn’t like to overthink things. In fact, the 49-year-old Missouri native is content just being on the road 300 nights a year, performing standup everywhere from Detroit to Dallas, Charleston to Escondido.

“I run into so many comedians who get nervous and they overthink everything,” Madigan told Folio Weekly during a recent phone interview. “And I’m, like, ‘Look. Are you doing what you want to do? Are you making enough money to pay your bills? Then shut up, because most people aren’t. Be happy. Why can’t you be happy?'”

She’s been at it for 25 years, even earning the distinction of being “the funniest comic in America, bar none,” from good friend and fellow comedian Lewis Black. She’s also won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Comedian” and the Phyllis Diller Award for “Best Female Comedian.”

Raised in a large Irish Catholic family, most of Madigan’s standup act is based on situational humor — specifically, making fun of her relatives, from her mom mistakenly dosing her with blood pressure medication instead of Advil, to her brother homeschooling his four kids.

“I think there are some unnecessary things that are said just to cause shock. I don’t really do that and it’s because I don’t like confrontation,” Madigan says. “So, for me, I wouldn’t say anything that would hurt my family’s feelings. I make fun of my family a lot, but it’s all within a context that’s all facts.”

Madigan’s comedy career began in the 1990s, and it was entirely by accident: While she was working at a St. Louis bar that she also frequented as a patron, the bar’s owner declared employees could no longer drink there after their shifts.

“So I went to the bar across the street, which happened to be a comedy club,” Madigan remembers. “They would have open mic nights and we would just do it for fun. Eventually, somebody paid me $50 and I was, like, ‘Wow! That was easy for $50.’ It was really about the money, honestly. And I don’t mean that in a greedy way. I mean that in a ‘how am I going to make a living?’ way.”

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Kathleen to perform at 2015 Gilda’s Laughfest

Kathleen will be making her third appearance at the 2015 Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids. MI. She will be performing along with Jim Breuer, Sinbad, and Justin Willman at one of the Fest’s signature events on March 10th, 2015. Tickets are $250 ($100 of which is tax deductible) and will benefit Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids. Tickets for this event and all the other festivities that week are now on sale through the Fest website.

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families, and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause.



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Kathleen to be a panelist on The Nightly Show

Kathleen will be a panelist on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Tuesday January 20th, Comedy Central 11:30pm ET.

In case you missed the show…here’s a clip of Kathleen on the panel discussing Cosby:



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Kathleen Madigan on comedy, controversy and a career in the spotlight

The tribune
January 14, 2015

For someone who can’t stand the spotlight, standup comedian Kathleen Madigan picked one hell of a career.

“If I hear somebody go ‘Kathleen!’ my immediate reaction is defensive and aggressive,” she quipped. “(Growing up) if you heard your name called, it was never good. It was like, ‘Somebody broke this lamp and your brother said it was you.'”

These days, Madigan may find it increasingly difficult to avoid attention.

Her latest comedy special, “Madigan Again,” premiered in September 2013 on Netflix, earning her an American Comedy Award nomination for best concert comic. She counts Lewis Black and Ron White among her admirers. And she’s currently racking up tour dates across the country.

Madigan, 49, grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Mo., as part of a large, sarcastic Irish-American clan.

She and her six siblings spent much of their childhoods blissfully unsupervised by their father, a worker’s compensation lawyer, and mother, a nurse turned stay-at-home mom.

“Half the time, my mother didn’t even know where we were,” Madigan recalled. “That was fine with me. … I didn’t even want attention. I loved the lack of focus.”

Madigan worked as a bartender, waitress and newspaper reporter before trying her hand at standup comedy — cutting her teeth at open mic nights across the St. Louis area.

Money was a key motivator, she said.

“Honestly. I found out you could make 250 bucks if you had 10 minutes (of material) and could be an opening act,” said Madigan, who holds a journalism degree from Southern Illinois University. “A real job never appealed to me. I didn’t like the whole nine-to-five (thing). I just hated it.”

Comedy, in contrast, “comes easy to me,” she added.

Read the full article…4



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Kathleen’s next special to be filmed in Milwaukee

We know you all have been clamouring for a new special and now one is on the horizon!

Kathleen will film her next special this October in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theatre. We’ll have all the details on dates, times and ticket sales soon. Stay tuned!



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