By Hector Saldana
San Antonio Express News
January 2, 2015
Kathleen Madigan is only the second headlining solo standup comic to play the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Bill Cosby was the first. Madigan arrives Friday at the Tobin center, definitely without the ick factor now surrounding Cosby — and, truthfully, way more hilarity. Now, Madigan isn’t the only funny woman to play the Tobin. Newcomer Nikki Carr arrived in November as part of the group with NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” tour; and Jeanne Robertson was at the venue even earlier, but she’s strictly a humorist and motivational type performer. Madigan has worked the stand-up comedy trenches and heights for years. She was nominated for an American Comedy Award last year for best concert comic, and her latest comedy special was named one of iTunes’ best in 2013. She remains a mainstay on late-night TV talk shows and on Sirius XM satellite radio.
She’s looking forward to getting her first glimpse of the Tobin Center.
“There is a different vibe in a theater,” said Madigan, who’s known for her wisecracking old-school personal style and sharing stories about her big Irish Catholic family, especially her dad.
“A club is a lot more intimate, but you kind of feel like it’s an AA meeting-type situation versus a theater, where it’s more of a show. In a club it’s more of a conversation; in a theater, it’s more of a show. Fortunately, my act is very conversational, so not a lot changes anyway.”
Madigan is a favorite of comedian Lewis Black and Ron White. She is close to both of them. With Lewis, she shares golf dates and gossip. With White, it’s always a glass of scotch.
The stereotype about comics is that they can’t really be friends.
“Everybody sort of gets there own pod,” Madigan said. “Everybody’s got like three or four. Like ‘the pot people’ form their own pod. I’m not a pot person, but I’m a drinker. I can drink wine with Lew or scotch with Ron White. I think you create your pod just from where you started and who was around.”
That’s a lot of scotch to keep up with White.
“For a little person like me, that’s a lot,” Madigan joked. “That’s enough to go to a hospital.”
The Cosby controversy notwithstanding, Madigan said 2014 was an especially tough year for comedy. The deaths of Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, John Pinette of “Seinfeld” fame and cowboy comic Tom Wilson were personally devastating.
“The biggest hit for me was John Pinette,” said Madigan, 49. “We’re (about) the same age and we actually coheadlined comedy gigs together throughout the years …he was a trainwreck, but he was sweet and generous and so funny. That just got me so sad.”
She’s performed with Williams in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rivers, she admired as a legend (though she said she preferred Phyllis Diller, “who resonated more”).
“You just can’t believe it. The whole year it was, ‘What the (expletive)? Are you kidding?’” she said.
“If you told me tomorrow Mel Brooks died, well you expect that. He’s like 100. I just saw Don Rickles in Montreal this summer. He’s doing it, but he’s very old. But all of these? Joan was so current and so hip.” Madigan, on the other hand, takes things in a hysterically different direction.
“I honestly don’t even know what the Kardashians do. I have no idea,” she said. “Nor do I care to look it up.”