The Independent: Comedian Brings Off-the-Cuff Humor to the Bankhead Theater

“I’m the lady at the end of the bar with a lot of opinions and only half the information to back it up,” declares comedian Kathleen Madigan. “I’m hoping you’re the same. Then, with four beers, it’s a great fun conversation.”

Over Madigan’s 25-year career as a comedian she has performed on nearly every stand-up and late night television show, including Leno, Letterman and O’Brien.

On Friday, September 9th, Madigan is performing closer to home. “Kathleen Madigan – The Mermaid Lady Tour” begins at 8 p.m. at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater. Tickets range in price from $16 to $60.

Whether on television, stage or a USO tour, Madigan brings an innate sense of humor and infectious sense of fun to everything from politics to family, and travel to current events.

“I had a woman who turned 80 come to a show,” says Madigan, of one of her favorite performing memories. “I asked her what the secret was to being fun at age 80, and she said, ‘Whiskey and baseball!'”

It was the kind of off-the-cuff candor that appeals to Madigan, about whom a Detroit Free Press article recently pondered, “How is it 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.”

Yet Madigan is doing exactly what she wants to be doing.

Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Madigan splits her time between Los Angeles and Lake Ozark, Mo. But she’s rarely home for long. She spends around 300 days a year on the road, headlining shows at theaters, clubs, corporate retreats, conferences, and benefits for the troops.

She may have fallen into stand-up comedy accidentally after wandering into an open mic night, but her accolades belie her easy-going approach. She’s won both the American Comedy Award and Phyllis Diller award for “Best Female Comedian.” She’s released four CDs and two DVDs, and has starred in two HBO specials and three Comedy Central specials. Her 2013 one-hour special “Madigan Again” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Additionally, Madigan remains the only comedian in the history of NBC’s Last Comic Standing to go unchallenged by a competitor, meaning no comedians would say they were funnier than she is. She was a top-three finalist in Season 2, and a judge on Season 5.

“I just want to tell jokes. I didn’t start doing open mics to become an actor on a sitcom or in a TV commercial. Those things never even crossed my mind. I just like to tell jokes for an hour or so and laugh,” says Madigan.”For a few of us working today, this was our goal. We don’t have any more goals. Can’t you ever have a goal, reach it, and then enjoy it? This society is being driven by Type A lunatics that say ‘You have to set more goals.’ No, you don’t. Have a seat and enjoy the fact that you’re here! Maybe that’s the Irish in me talking though.”

The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First Street in downtown Livermore. Tickets may be purchased at the box office, online at www.bankheadtheater.org or by calling 373-p6800. To learn more, visit www.kathleenmadigan.com.

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