Kathleen Madigan on the Presidential Candidates, Going Overseas, and Getting Good Parking.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I read you were a journalist. What made you quit to be a comic?
Kathleen Madigan: I was for a couple of years out of college, but I really didn't have my heart and soul into it. I was also making more money bartending and having more fun at it! Knew I wasn't a good enough journalist. I was mediocre at best. I knew I didn't want to live on that salary.
In a way, you're still a journalist because you write your material.
Kind of, but it's not really the same. When you start out doing comedy, you have to write all of your own press stuff and figure out the business end of it through communication if you can't afford to have someone do it. So, I had a really bitchin press kit! [Laughs.]
I'm sure! Did your parents always think you were funny?
Listen, there are seven kids in my family and I think there was a certain level of not paying attention. As long as we weren't in trouble they were fine with it. Also at the time and because I'm a woman my dad was like, sure whatever! I think if my brothers decided to do this there would have been more of a discussion. My dad would probably deny that but I think I'm right.
You've been doing stand-up for over 20 years so you must love flying. Do you have some sort of ritual on planes like, you put an eye mask on and tell people to eff off?
[Laughs.] I really do love my eye mask. I think it's an important part of a good nap on an airplane. I read a lot, have my iPad, and goof off. I play on Twitter a lot. Most of my day on some level is goofing off. I hate to admit that out loud. Yes, I'm working but my work is silly. Because it's not corporate, there is no set pattern on how to do anything. Comics all trade information like, this is going on here and there. Even at this level with my friends Lewis Black and Ron White, 90% of our work comes from us. We spend all day on the phone talking about what city sucks, what's great...it's just a lot of nonsense.
So what cities suck and which are great?
Well it all depends on your act. Like, there is no reason for me to be in Miami. I am mid-west Irish Catholic whitey. [Laughs.] As comics, we all know it! But Green Bay? I can rock it! My Irish Catholic people are there! It's just you have to factor in what comics are talking about with this city or that club. Like, I don't belong in an urban club. It's just what suits everybody you know what I mean?
I do, and I bet you'd still kill! So then do you change your material for the area you are in?
I have done urban and I had a great time but it's probably just not the future with me. I don't change my act really anymore. I will tend to talk about where I am right out of the gate though. At this point I do my act wherever I am in the same way and they can laugh or not. I don't really cater it. [Laughs.]
You've also hit all of the late night shows...do you have a favorite?
I have favorites for different reasons. The best physical environment is Craig Ferguson's show because it's really small, compact, and dark. It feels like a club and all it's missing is a beer. It's more like what we're used to doing versus Leno, where it's like a bright TV studio. The audience is far away and it's awkward but I'm used to it now because I've done it like 15 or 16 times. Leno is a really big supporter of mine and I've done Letterman like six times, but I'm not in New York as much as I'm in L.A.