A feisty, wisecracking Midwesterner who’s considered one of the funniest stand-up comedians of her generation is making two stops in Iowa this month on her latest tour. Kathleen Madigan likes to poke fun of her Irish Catholic roots, growing up in a family of seven kids in Saint Louis.
Madigan spent much of her early career performing in comedy clubs across the region, including many in the Hawkeye State. “If feel that Iowa is much smarter than Missouri and I would say that while I was in Missouri,” Madigan says. “I think it’s because it’s colder and you spend more time inside reading.”
She calls stand-up comedy “the best job on earth,” and says if she weren’t on stage, she’d be sipping a cold one, somewhere. “If I bailed, you can judge this, but I would open a bar called Madigan’s and then I would just sit at the end and then boss people around while I watch sports.” After earning a journalism degree in 1988, Madigan spent a few years working in print before she abandoned newspapers and focused instead on a life behind the mic. She now spends about 40 weeks a year on the road.
While some people say they’d steer their kids away from following in their own footsteps professionally, Madigan says she would “absolutely” recommend pursuing a career in comedy. “Every day I think sooner or later, somebody’s going to find out and make me get a job that actually contributes to society but so far, nothing!” Madigan says. “I am still my own boss. I’ve actually paid for a car and can pay the rent. I don’t know what else people want out of life. People need to set their goals a little lower and just have a lot of fun.”
While she’s not much into Facebook, Madigan says she’s a dedicated Twitter follower and sends out frequent tweets. Some of her comic colleagues have slammed Twitter because it may not always be accurate, but Madigan says she loves the instant nature of that form of social media. “Who cares if I thought Jon Bon Jovi was dead for two days and now I found out he’s not dead? Lucky me!,” Madigan says, laughing. “Most of it’s right. I’ll take the three mistakes for the 97 ones that are right.”
She’s booked to perform November 22nd at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City and November 23rd at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.