Kathleen Madigan

Comedian Kathleen Madigan.

courtesy of Brian Freidman

Kathleen Madigan, who has been deemed by her peers as “the funniest woman comic in America,” didn’t disappoint when she visited The Rialto Theater on Feb. 17. The stop was one of many in her nationwide tour lasting through Oct. 13, when Madigan returns to her hometown of St. Louis for a final act.

Madigan’s performance was preceded by comedian Jason Dudey, who has been traveling with Madigan for several years. Dudey got the crowd warmed up, starting his act by making fun of his own last name.

 “I learned early on that life is not going to be easy being the Dudey. My sister hated it, she got married when she was like 12,” he said. “I told that joke in South Carolina, and not one person laughed.”

Madigan’s arrival on stage was met with thunderous applause from the packed auditorium. Madigan complimented the Rialto for “being funky” and “having a bar.” Rialto has even more than that, with an extensive lineup of shows in queue, including a visit from Henry Rollins on March 1, and a Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular on March 2.

Madigan wasted no time getting the crowd laughing when she commented on Tucson’s diversity.

“Tucson’s weird,” she said. “I’ve done fancy corporate shows for rich corporations where they’re at some fancy golf resort, and then you pull out and there are just wild dogs. Abject poverty, super rich people, golfing. A little strange.”

In the spirit of the upcoming elections, Madigan went on to poke fun at some of the Republican candidates.

“Mitt Romney? No, no, no. He claims he has never ever in his life had a drink of alcohol, a cigarette, or a drug,” she said. “First of all, as an Irish Catholic, that sentence can’t even go into my head. It’s not that I’m advocating for it, but the only people I know that can say that, are babies.”

“Newt Gingrich? Come on. At the beginning of his campaign two entire staffs quit. Over 200 people per staff,” she said. “That’s 400 people, in this economy, that ran out of the building screaming, ‘I quit! I quit!’”

Madigan said she thinks Obama overestimates the general public’s knowledge when it comes to politics.

“Two months ago, about the jobs act, he said, ‘America, I’m going to need you, if you agree with me, to email your Congressmen and Representatives.’”

Madigan paused a moment and said, “Well, then, I’m going to need you to email me who they are.”

Madigan also addressed some of her hometown’s political issues in reference to the legality of “catfish noodling,” and tackled some broader issues like “Occupy Wall Street.”

“I understand their point, and they have a good point, but I am not yet angry enough about anything to camp. If you’re going to have something at the Radisson around five, give me a holler,” she said. “How does camping fix it? Do you think the people in the penthouse look out and say, ‘Oh dear God, they’re camping again, I can’t stand it. Someone run down there and give them my IRA.’”

Not surprisingly, Madigan has been featured on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and several others. Madigan recently went unchallenged on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” implying no comedian would say they were funnier than her. After seeing her performance at The Rialto, I second that notion.

Madigan has 19 more cities scheduled for her tour.

Comedy videos of Madigan can be viewed on her website at www.kathleenmadigan.com.

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