Kathleen Madigan is often called the funniest person in the room—typically by fellow comics like Lewis Black and Ron White—and she will aim to keep that distinction at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Sat., Sept. 14.
It’s the first time Madigan will perform at the venue after a quarter century of telling jokes.
“There’s a resurgence in the type of place my parents would have called ‘the supper club,’” Madigan said of the classy joint. It’s more relaxed than a comedy club, more intimate than a theater and offers better food and drink options than both.
“And you’re not with a bunch of college kids or a bachelorette party like at the Funny Bone,” she laughed.
St. Louis Native Madigan spent the first decade of her career paying her dues, and now that she’s been consistently headlining at theaters and clubs across the globe, some people—even her agents—expect her to take that next step: wacky neighbor on a sitcom or talk show co-host.
But, for Madigan, there is no next step.
“I want to do a one-time seminar called something along the lines of Drop Your Goals. I don’t know what type of freak started it—Oprah probably—vision boards and dream catchers. Why can’t you just enjoy your life?” she said.
In other words, she’s living the dream. Madigan’s goal from that first open-mic night was to tell jokes to paying customers—and that’s it. Not a stepping stone from comedian to rock star or comedian to sitcom maven. Just comedian.
“This is the goal. Now, not only am I having fun, but I’m making money at it,” she said. She likes the fact that you can’t spot her spewing watered-down lines on a show like “The Talk” every weekday.
“Here’s the thing, I’m like a leprechaun. I bop around, and you can find me if you want to find me,” Madigan said. “And you can feel better if you do, because you caught the leprechaun.”
You can also catch the leprechaun in her new stand-up special, “Madigan Again,” which will exclusively be available on Netflix beginning Wed., Sept. 11. It was taped in Detroit, a tenacious locale where she feels at home.
“I love that they’re still there. Seriously, guys, at what point are you giving up on this dream? There are wild dogs downtown. Wild dogs. They’re digging their heels in, you know. I’ve always had good crowds there.
“It’s a mirror city to St. Louis—just a different industry. We’ve got beer and dog food, and they had cars, but it’s the same type of people—same Midwest mentality,” Madigan said. “In Detroit, no matter where we are at any moment, things could get weird.”
Madigan likes when it gets weird, which is why she doesn’t mind hustling to places like Billings, Montana; Gillette, Wyoming; Valentine, Nebraska or Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It was in SC where she just hit the links with Lewis Black.
“It’s crazy on the golf course. It’s on a swamp! But I’m the freak who loves that. There’s alligators everywhere, and it’s on purpose. They keep it like that,” she said. “I thought, ‘That’s the biggest house cat I’ve ever seen,’ and then I’m like, ‘Holy s***, that’s a bobcat!’ The golf courses are spectacular, though.”
Kathleen Madigan will perform at 8 and 10 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 14, at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Visit www.yoshis.com for more information.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.