Just For Laughs Review: Cinquieme Salle, Montreal QC, July 26
Kathleen Madigan’s show was just pure, no-nonsense, incredible jokes. The kind of jokes that are so perfectly written and delivered that you still chuckle to yourself when you remember them the next day. With her 75-minute act of all killer, no filler, she thoroughly earned the standing ovation that capped off the one-night-only performance of her solo show.
Opener Tiff Stevenson was charming, but aside from her joke that someone should mug Kim Kardashian because she said she would “literally kill herself” if she lost her Blackberry, she wasn’t particularly noteworthy. On the other hand, Lewis Black’s grumbly, exasperated opening set was extraordinary. His realization that his job is almost redundant because American politics are already crazily funny without his help was fantastic, as was his breakdown of how to win arguments in the style of Ben Carson. Additionally, his bafflement about how America ended up nominating two people that most people hate was extremely funny.
Madigan’s performance had three major themes: her Missouri roots, religion and health. After wittily remarking that Lewis Black is the only man who’s more dishevelled than Bernie Sanders, she discussed the pricelessly weird Missouri phenomenon of noodling, which reportedly is the practice of catching catfish by wading around in water and getting them to bite your hand. She also talked about her St Louis-based parents retirement and her mother being completely inept with cell phones, plus she related how installing a car seat for her sister was far more complex than she could have ever anticipated.
On the topic of religion, Madigan laughed about how Catholic school made her extremely sceptical of religion, and found funniness in people who communicate with Jesus for things as small as helping their dryers work. She then drew the show to close with increasingly hysterical chunks of material about the health expert Sanjay Gupta, trying to quit smoking through hypnotism, and calling the Obamacare hotline and finding out that the plan she was considering covered everything except abortion and foot care.