Comedian Kathleen Madigan is a road warrior. For nearly three decades the Missouri native has slayed in cities across the country, making audiences laugh with her weapons of choice: observations, stories about her Midwestern Irish-American family and her favorite oddball news stories she’s seen on TV or read on the internet.
“I’ve kind of kept on the same subjects my whole life,” Madigan told amNewYork. The key to her longevity it seems is sticking to the material that keeps her amused, and she’s not one to change her shtick from town to town. “People are people, and wherever you go you’re going to get a mix of things.”
With a conversational, down-to-earth style, Madigan invites audiences into her life as she spins tales about her big family (she’s one of seven children) into golden yarn. Much of it centers around her parents, two retirees who drive down from the St. Louis area to Florida each year and serve as constant fodder for jokes. Her imitations of them make her laugh on stage and it’s hard to blame her — their idiosyncrasies are delightful.
Comedy lovers who missed her the last time she came around to New York might remember her from her two-season stint on “Last Comic Standing,” her “Comedy Central Presents” special or her appearances on late-night shows. Her latest special “Bothering Jesus,” is on Netflix, her second on the streaming giant, and has garnered her new fans.
“Netflix is really good because your special is always on, you don’t have to tell people a time and date,” Madigan said. “It’s just like a library.” She added, “Netflix is good because the millennials like it and the old people understand it. It’s not just for one group.”
When she comes to New York’s Schimmel Center she’ll be on her “Boxed Wine and Bigfoot Tour.” The reference in her set to Sasquash follows a bit of growing trend in her comedy; in “Bothering Jesus” she had some great jokes about the Loch Ness Monster. “It’s just fun, the sort of mysteries that could or could not be true,” Madigan explained.
She gets a lot of her material out of deep dives into these sorts of unusual stories. As she approaches the subjects many of us might brush off or forget about — like the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — she instead follows her obsessive interest into discovering new details few of us would know, or remember.
Between the talk of her family and her stories about her interests, it’s easy to leave Madigan’s show feeling like you just met the funniest person at the bar and got to hear them shoot the breeze for a full hour. It’s not a bad way to spend a Friday night.
Kathleen Madigan is at the Schimmel Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m., 3 Spruce St, schimmelcenter.org, $45-$65