Missouri native Kathleen Madigan has been working in stand-up for over 25 years, appearing on every late night show that you can imagine and winning the 1996 American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic. With 5 albums, 3 DVD releases, and 10 specials under her belt, she continues to garner big numbers on iTunes and Netflix. Alongside best buddy Lewis Black, Madigan has completed two USO tours of Afghanistan and Iraq. She was a Top 3 finalist and, later, a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, where she remains the only comedian to ever go unchallenged by another comic on the show. Her stand-up special Madigan Again is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
On Friday night at The Carolina Theatre of Durham, Kathleen Madigan’s inexplicably titled Kathleen Madigan: The Mermaid Lady Tour dove into previously explored, but well-loved waters: impressions of her parents (salt-of-the-earth Irish Catholic father Jack and not-so-maternal cig-smoking mother Vicki), observations about growing up Catholic, her penchant for alcohol consumption, dealing with annoying teenagers, and the recurring practical joke that is American politics. She also ventured into less-charted territories for her: the dangers of bacon, how Baptists treat Catholics, exploding Ozark meth labs, and eating steak in front of vegetarians.
Observational comic Tony Deyo opened for Madigan, and would have been better left on the tour bus to keep from hurting himself or others in an attempt to be funny. He gave nothing but cliché, with an almost wandering delivery.
When Deyo started with “So my wife and I just became parents,” I knew it was going to be a long wait for Madigan. The most tired observational White Guy material known to humans was highlighted: “Having a Newborn Is Hard” and “Being a Band Geek Virgin Is Hard” and “Getting in Shape Is Hard” and “Trying to Dance Is Hard,” etc. While he got some polite laughs from the audience, I counted around seven solid jokes in his entire set; and his post-show meet-and-greet table appeared mostly forsaken by the emerging crowd.
After performing earlier this week in Charlotte (which she jokingly called a “quiet little country town”), Kathleen Madigan made her way to Durham and brought the house down. She has always made stand-up look easy.
Madigan is the working folks’ comic: she uses little profanity, avoids the topic of sex, and delivers relatable material in a casual, conversational fashion. She is certainly somebody you want to have a beer (or five) with.
She doesn’t “do jokes” as much as she tells stories. It’s the kind of comedy that carries careers. We got over an hour of slap-your-knee, catch-your-breath autobiographical, absurd, observational, and political comedy; and an appreciative audience jumped to its feet in gratitude as she left the stage.
Madigan’s posts about the Durham show include: https://twitter.com/kathleenmadigan/status/784543655084322819, https://twitter.com/kathleenmadigan/status/784589106504404993, and https://www.instagram.com/p/BLR-NFUBJ7S/.
SECOND OPINION: Sept. 29th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/business/laugh-out-loud-comedian-kathleen-madigan-coming-to-carolina-theatre/article_5b54171c-85be-11e6-8273-8b519853f8ef.html (Note: You must subscribe to read this article).
KATHLEEN MADIGAN: THE MERMAID LADY TOUR (The Carolina Theatre of Durham, Oct. 7 in Fletcher Hall).
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/user/kathleenmadigan.
Kathleen Madigan (Florissant, MO-born comedian, actress, writer, and producer): http://www.kathleenmadigan.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0534904/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/kathleenmadigan (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/kathleenmadigan (Twitter page), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Madigan (Wikipedia), and https://www.youtube.com/user/kathleenmadigan (YouTube).
Dustin K. Britt is a Triangle native, holds a master’s degree in special education from East Carolina University, and teaches locally. He can be spotted all over the Triangle area either painting scenery or chewing o n it. He has received local theater award nominations for doing both. He is a devoted cinephile and author of Hold the Popcorn, a movie blog on Facebook. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment He can also be found via his official Facebook page and on Twitter @dkbritt85.