Opinionated Lady

By Eric Newman

Comedian Kathleen Madigan displays authenticity

For 29 years, comedian Kathleen Madigan has been touring the United States and internationally, performing her world-renowned standup routines nearly 250 nights each year.

Although she has worked on and appeared in several TV shows and movies, Madigan has focused on standup, which has resulted in five specials, including three on Netflix.

“If I got a scratch-off ticket and won $5 million, I might not go as many nights, but for us road comics these tours are just kind of what we love,” she says.

Madigan’s jaunt, Boxed Wine and Bigfoot Tour, will come to The Rialto Theatre on Thursday, June 14.

Her latest hour-long special, Bothering Jesus, is streaming on Netflix and it is named after her 2018 album. It marks the highest-selling comedy album debut since 2014, and, among other honors, has remained atop iTunes and other streaming services since its February release.

An industry veteran, Madigan knows her audience and bases her popularity on her authenticity. Her jokes convey herself, not a character.

With an eclectic mix of intelligent and simply ridiculous material, Madigan can offer political commentary on the ages of the U.S.’ top political officials and follow it up with a hilarious story about getting too drunk in a small town in Georgia.

“I’ve been described by (comedian) Lewis Black as the ‘lady at the bar with a lot of opinions and very little information,’ which definitely could be true. I’m just fun, and people think they want to hang out with me,” she says.

“Every single comedian who has a following has a group of people who attach themselves because of more than the jokes, it’s what the jokes are really saying. I have always been who I am offstage and on.”

Madigan is still surprised by aspects of her career. From the stories she hears from people after shows, to the utter surprise at the success of a recent joke about a form of cat fishing with one’s hands called “noodling,” it is clear her career keeps her engaged.

“I truly only talked about it (noodling) because I thought it was funny myself, and I really didn’t think it would become a thing that people are interested in,” Madigan says. “I didn’t think it would catch fire like that, and usually I know which ones are going to stand out like that, so it was kind of fun. I like when that kind of thing happens.”