10 Questions with Stand-up Comic Kathleen Madigan

Kathleen Madigan
Kathleen Madigan. Photo credit: Natalie Brasington

In addition to recently talking to Dan’s Papers about her career in advance of her August 17 performance at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, comedian Kathleen Madigan joined us for 10 rapid-fire questions on a variety of subjects. Her answers were both funny and revealing.

The last book you read?
My dad gave it to me: The Nuremberg Interviews. … I don’t read funny stuff.

The last thing that took your breath away?
Me, at the corporate gig. I didn’t see some tape that was taped into the carpet for sound and lights and I fell into the curtain taking lights and the curtain with me—totally sober at 5 o’clock in the evening. That took my breath away. But I was also laughing as it was happening and I didn’t get hurt. But I have a history of falling for no reason. I’m just clumsy. I just didn’t see it and I had 4-inch heels on, and, bam!

The last thing that made you cry?
The Budweiser commercial with the horse and the puppy. I cry every time. And the song in the background: [SINGS] You gotta let her go. Tell me when when you’re missin’ home [/SINGS]—whatever that song is. Oh, it’s heartbreaking.

It’s the eve of your execution… what would be your last meal?
One comedian, I don’t remember who, he said, “microwave popcorn.” So when they electrocuted him the popcorn would go off. I would say my mom’s chicken and rice and mashed potatoes and a pint a Guinness—if I’m allowed alcohol.

Something worth fighting for?
Well in my whole life I thought about, “What would I protest?” I don’t know how the drunks in this country allowed Prohibition to pass. I would fight for the right to drink alcohol.

Something worth giving up?
Cigs. I hate to say it, but it’s worth it. I did it. I miss them though. Yeah, I miss them.

If you could spend an afternoon with anyone—alive or dead—who would it be?
I know as a Catholic I’m supposed to say Jesus. I might pick the new pope. I like him. He’s throwing out the books. He’s writing new ones. I love it. I’m surprised they haven’t kicked him out or worse.

An interesting object in your home?
I have three singing nuns that are attached to each other that were my grandma’s and they sing that song “Dee, dee dee. Dee dee dee dee. Dee dee dee dee.” But sometimes, they do it on their own. What? Then I just think it’s my grandma saying, “Hi.” It’s just random. It’s a windup thing on the back—like an old ceramic thing of three nuns in the full habits and all that—and it’s a windup thing but I never touch that because it doesn’t really work anyway. But sometimes they’ll just start singing and I think, “This is going to be lucky day. I need to go to a casino.”

Last film you watched?
I just watched it the other night. Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren. Great movie about the Nazis stealing the art and the art reparations to the people who owned the paintings initially. It’s all true.

Who is your favorite stand-up comedian?
I’ll say Lewis Black. … All of my comedian friends that I hang out with, I also think their act is funny. My West Coast golf buddy, and Midwest, is Ron White. I think he’s one of the funniest people on and offstage I’ve ever hung out with. I don’t understand people who, you’re really funny onstage but then you go offstage and it’s just terrible. I don’t understand what’s happened. What’s going on? It’s too confusing. So, Lou is who he is onstage, offstage—obviously not to that degree. So is Ron. So am I. So if I see your act and I got attached to that, I’m probably going to like you as a friend.

Also read our interview on Kathleen Madigan’s career and inspirations.


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