Comedian Kathleen Madigan’s 32-year comedy career is showing no signs of slowing down. Madigan has been touring 250 nights a year on the road and has risen from performing in comedy clubs to performing in marquee theaters with sold out shows. She’s squeezed in over 40 appearances on late night talk shows and multiple comedy specials airing on Netflix, Comedy Central and HBO. She also recently joined Jerry Seinfeld on his Netflix show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and made the most of the pandemic by launching a podcast, “Madigan’s Pubcast,” on all streaming outlets. Recently asked if her career was planned, she said, “No, like that guy in the Joy of Painting used to say, it was a happy accident. This whole thing just started out as a reason to drink and wow, what a great drinking accident.”
Her most recent special “Bothering Jesus” is her fifth hour long standup special and will be her third special to be available on NETFLIX. “I love working with them. They’re the young people. Network TV will need to adapt quickly to even have a chance to stay in the game. NETFLIX gets it and makes it so easy for us. Instead of it being a battle of content and rules, it’s just fun. What it’s supposed to be,” she says.
Her album of the “Bothering Jesus” special, was the highest selling comedy album and most played comedy album on streaming services since 2014.
Discussing her latest endeavor, Madigan said of her podcast, “During covid it was so strange to be home. I’ve haven’t been off and home for more than 3 weeks in 32 years so it was odd. Once it was clear we weren’t going out on the road anytime soon, I decided a podcast would be a fun way to stay in touch with people. I’d have never had the time with the road being kinda all consuming. I plan to keep doing now just because it’s been so much fun and something different.”
So how is it, the Detroit Free Press asks, “that Madigan has yet to be cast as the wise cracking a) best friend b) office worker or c) martini-swilling mother-in-law in any of countless sitcoms? We’re thinking it’s because she’s so irreplaceable on the stage. She’s described as the funniest woman doing stand-up right now but no gender qualifier is necessary. Along with Lewis Black, Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan, she’s one of the funniest stand-up comedians of her generation.”
“I just want to tell jokes. I didn’t start doing open mic to become an actor on a sitcom or in a TV commercial. Those things never ever crossed my mind,” Madigan says. “For a few of us working, telling jokes was our main goal. I don’t have any more goals. Can’t you ever have a goal, reach it and enjoy it? Our society is being driven by type-A lunatics who say you have to set more goals. Well maybe they do but we all don’t. Have a seat, grab a drink and enjoy the fact you achieved the goal. Maybe that’s the Irish in me talking though.”
After a recent performance at the Chicago Theater, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “She has all but perfected the art of crafting and delivering a perfect joke. That singular dedication to the craft shows in both the evolution of her material over the years and way she can make a complicated joke with a hidden nub of wisdom seem both effortless and offhand.”
Madigan has performed internationally at festivals in theaters in Ireland, England, Hong Kong, Australia and has filmed seven Montreal Gala Shows at the Montreal Comedy Festival for CBC TV. “I never realized how middle America I am until performing overseas. It all works but needs some tweaking when the crowd isn’t all Americans. It’s a good challenge and made me a better comedian.” She also has joined numerous USO trips to entertain troops around the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
She’s won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Comedian” and the Phyllis Diller award for “Best Female Comedian.” She has written and produced for Lewis Black’s “Root of All Evil” on Comedy Central and done multiple USO tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The USO shows are the best. Trust me, no crowd is as appreciative and fired up to see any entertainer. I’m glad I have the chance because God knows I don’t wanna have to do their job!”
Madigan is an advocate and fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis and Autism.
Madigan originally hails from St. Louis, Missouri.