Pittsburgh City Paper: A conversation with Kathleen Madigan “Why is the president crying? This can’t be good!”
By Sam Leonard
Kathleen Madigan is that rare comic with no real aspirations to appear on television, unless it’s to do standup. In that capacity, she has appeared repeatedly on Conan, Letterman, Leno and most other late-night shows that you’ve heard of. Madigan was a finalist on Last Comic Standing before returning as a judge, and was recently featured on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Despite Madigan’s appeal on screen, her act is best enjoyed live. She has spent 25 years working more than 300 nights annually in clubs and theaters. On Sept. 16, she visits Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall with her polished brand of straight-up funny. She spoke with CP by phone.
When was the last time you came to Pittsburgh?
I used to work the Funny Bone a lot. I think I worked the Improv once. As a matter of fact, I know I did because that’s where one of the servers had “Cowher Power” and a Steelers helmet tattooed on her ass. I asked her, “What if Bill Cowher gets fired?” She said, “I don’t care. I love Bill Cowher.” So that’s still tattooed on that lady’s ass today.
Both you and Lewis Black satirize politics, but you seem to be able to make it funny even to the uninformed.
Lew just goes on stage with the presumption that his crowd has a basic knowledge, and I don’t. … Also, I’m just pointing out the absurd. So even if you don’t know the background behind it, you get the absurdity of it. And that’s the point — [politics] is all absurd. Lewis feels it’s still fixable. I don’t.
Lew’s a hippie. I say to him, “Yeah, but Lewis, your political memories are from when political protests were actually effective. My first political memory is Nixon quitting. ‘Why is the president crying? This can’t be good!’”
Your recent special Madigan Again is now on Netflix. How is it working with Netflix?
They’re great. I just filmed another Netflix special that should probably be out in September or October. I assume it’s a bunch of millennials working there. They don’t want to have a lot of meetings or a lot of phone calls. They pay well. They leave you alone. There’s no back-and-forth bullshit. They’re wonderful.