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Kathleen Madigan: Owner of a ceramic fox named Easton and 14 other things we learned from interviewing the comedian

Comedian Kathleen Madigan is a late-night talk show staple and, according to The Detroit Free Press and popmatters.com, one of the “9 Funniest Women on the Planet.”

Her latest standup special, “Madigan Again,” was released in September on Netflix.

On Oct. 17, she returns to the State Theatre in Easton. Madigan last performed at the theater in 2012.

But did you know Madigan enjoys collecting ceramic animals and other curiosities from the cities she visits, including a ceramic Big Foot? Or that she is a fan of Bud Light?

Here are 15 things we learned about Madigan during a recent phone interview:

1.) She keeps a purple ceramic fox named “Easton” in her backyard.

The comedian says she purchased the ceramic critter from Easton-based boutique shop Mercantile Home during her last visit to the city. She named it Easton and keeps it in her backyard to remind her of the city from which it came. Madigan also purchased a ceramic squirrel, and unbeknownst to him, sent it to comedian Lewis Black to freak him out.

“I can find really weird stuff in Montana, but not if I’m Cleveland or St. Louis,” Madigan says. “I’ve got to go to little towns like Easton to find it.”
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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

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.”

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You won’t read a success story like Madigan’s again

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.”

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At the Casinos: Comedian Kathleen Madigan brings ‘mental vacation’

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.

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Kathleen Madigan’s plainspoken comedy cuts through the noise

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.

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