Kathleen Madigan has been in the business for over 20 years and if there is one thing that she knows, it's how to make a crowd laugh. Honestly, real talk, and top notch delivery is what she's bringing and when Kathleen blows through town on February 24 for one night only at The City National Grove of Anaheim, you shouldn't be without tickets!
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I read you were a journalist. What made you quit to be a comic?
Kathleen Madigan: I was for a couple of years out of college, but I really didn't have my heart and soul into it. I was also making more money bartending and having more fun at it! Knew I wasn't a good enough journalist. I was mediocre at best. I knew I didn't want to live on that salary.
n a way, you're still a journalist because you write your material.
Kind of, but it's not really the same. When you start out doing comedy, you have to write all of your own press stuff and figure out the business end of it through communication if you can't afford to have someone do it. So, I had a really bitchin press kit! [Laughs.]
I'm sure! Did your parents always think you were funny?
Listen, there are seven kids in my family and I think there was a certain level of not paying attention. As long as we weren't in trouble they were fine with it. Also at the time and because I'm a woman my dad was like, sure whatever! I think if my brothers decided to do this there would have been more of a discussion. My dad would probably deny that but I think I'm right.
You've been doing stand-up for over 20 years so you must love flying. Do you have some sort of ritual on planes like, you put an eye mask on and tell people to eff off?
[Laughs.] I really do love my eye mask. I think it's an important part of a good nap on an airplane. I read a lot, have my iPad, and goof off. I play on Twitter a lot. Most of my day on some level is goofing off. I hate to admit that out loud. Yes, I'm working but my work is silly. Because it's not corporate, there is no set pattern on how to do anything. Comics all trade information like, this is going on here and there. Even at this level with my friends Lewis Black and Ron White, 90% of our work comes from us. We spend all day on the phone talking about what city sucks, what's great...it's just a lot of nonsense.
So what cities suck and which are great?
Well it all depends on your act. Like, there is no reason for me to be in Miami. I am mid-west Irish Catholic whitey. [Laughs.] As comics, we all know it! But Green Bay? I can rock it! My Irish Catholic people are there! It's just you have to factor in what comics are talking about with this city or that club. Like, I don't belong in an urban club. It's just what suits everybody you know what I mean?
I do, and I bet you'd still kill! So then do you change your material for the area you are in?
I have done urban and I had a great time but it's probably just not the future with me. I don't change my act really anymore. I will tend to talk about where I am right out of the gate though. At this point I do my act wherever I am in the same way and they can laugh or not. I don't really cater it. [Laughs.]
You've also hit all of the late night shows...do you have a favorite?
I have favorites for different reasons. The best physical environment is Craig Ferguson's show because it's really small, compact, and dark. It feels like a club and all it's missing is a beer. It's more like what we're used to doing versus Leno, where it's like a bright TV studio. The audience is far away and it's awkward but I'm used to it now because I've done it like 15 or 16 times. Leno is a really big supporter of mine and I've done Letterman like six times, but I'm not in New York as much as I'm in L.A.
Who has been the coolest guest that you've been booked with?
Randomly for whatever reason, I've been booked twice with Samuel L. Jackson and he was totally cool! I was like, do you remember me? I've been booked with you twice! I was sure he'd never remember me but he remembered I was the comedian lady. The biggest disappointment was once I was supposed to be on with Elton John and he cancelled and instead they put on Willard Scott. I was like, that's not a fair trade. This is bullshit! You can't say Elton John and give me Willard Scott!
I can see how that would be a fairly uncool trade.
Right? I almost got booked with Obama too once but then they decided to make the whole show him and make it more serious. It would have been fascinating to see the secret service and how that all works. It would have been weird though probably because I'd be doing stand-up and the audience would be watching Obama.
From a TV watching perspective it would've been cool to see him laugh at some stand-up! You're pretty into politics, what are your thoughts on our presidential candidates?
Well with Mitt Romney, I can't get on board because he said he's never had a drink or a cigarette in his life. And he's like 60! As an Irish Catholic this can't even go in my head, my computer won't accept it. The only people I know that can say that in my life are babies. I think even my three-year-old nieces have had a sip of beer by accident. If he spent a week with me I'd look like a degenerate hobo from an alley.
You'd be like Lindsay Lohan to him.
[Laughs.] Totally! I also think that Ron Paul has said stuff that every single American has been like, yeah your right. Then the other side of your brain is like, but you can't do that. He's like your grandpa on Thanksgiving shouting shit out. You know he's right but you know you just can't. Lewis Black said, "If one of the definitions of bipolar is for every good thought you have a really bad thought. There's Ron Paul."
I just think he is too old.
It's funny because no one ever really says that! I mean, you just did, but his age never comes up and yet we berated McCain for being old. If someone is going to lead a revolution they have to weigh more than me.
What about Roseanne Barr?
You know I've seen a couple of Tweets and is she seriously running as a libertarian now? I've seen her do stand-up even in the last five years and she is still funny as hell. It's just on Twitter she's very passionate. I would never have the guts to go that all in like that.
It would be insane if enough people were like, screw it. I'm voting for Roseanne because it's time for a real change.
It would be and it would definitely shake stuff up where everybody would be paying attention. You have Obama and then you put Romney in and everyone just gets kind of lulled into complacency. To watch Roseanne's State of the Union? With all the cursing? [Laughs.]
I'd be funny...yet scary. So you've travelled overseas for the troops, is that something you'd like to do again?
No! No American should ever be sent to Afghanistan again ever! I'm very glad that we are bringing people home from there. I said to Lewis the last time we were over there, can't we attack a country that when you get there it's lovely? Like Italy with wine, pasta, and a beach? Afghanistan is dusty with sand storms and camels and it looks like you've flown into the bible. It's weird because you're a Jew and I'm a Catholic so you'd fly into the Old Testament and I'd be in the New Testament.
Seriously it sounds awful and I respect the people who are there. I think I'd do it once. But only once!
It's unbearable and really extreme. It's extremely cold and then extremely hot. Then I had on a thirty pound fight jacket with this metal thing and I realized, I haven't been standing up straight for 45 years. The whole thing is just horrible. I feel bad complaining because I'm only there for two weeks and the troops are there for months but, it's just not a perfect place. I appreciate what the troops do because I don't ever want to do it.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Understood and I agree! What can you give me on your show at The Grove and what can the crowd expect from you?
I just want them to get a good parking spot! I don't believe in "The Secret" where if you think you'll get a good spot, you automatically will. Get there early and get a good spot and I promise we'll have fun! That's all I got!
Get your tickets now to see Kathleen Madigan this Friday (2/24) at www.citynationalgroveofanaheim.com. You can follow Kathleen on Twitter @KathleenMadigan or to pick up one of her DVD's and see where she'll be next, check out her website www.kathleenmadigan.com. The City National Grove of Anaheim is located at 2200 East Katella Avenue in Anaheim.