Kathleen Madigan is just funny. She makes us laugh without yelling or making silly videos, and somehow makes it through a whole show without once mentioning dieting.
She was nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for Best Club Comic and has a new hour special, “Madigan Again,” on Netflix. We talked with Madigan about the new media model, Congressional gridlock, and why the old Pope had shitty taste in designer footwear.
AltDaily: We are so happy that you’ll be back to the Attucks.
Kathleen Madigan: Thanks.
I just saw your Netflix special and it was, as usual, very funny. How was it different working with Netflix as opposed to say HBO or Comedy Central?
I’ve had specials on HBO and Showtime and Comedy Central and the problem working with those guys is that they will say, “Okay Kathleen, your special is going to premiere at such and such time at such and such and such hour” and I’d say “Okay, great. How many times are your going to show the special?” and they would say “We don’t know” and I would say “If you figure it out can you tell me?” and they’d say “No we can’t do that.”
I know. I was like, “Why are you keeping this a secret from me?” And it would be random, like my mom would text me “you’re on Showtime right now, if you’re supposed to be getting money, your father and I are keeping track”… So you can stop doing that, mom. Now when people ask me where they can see me, I can say that I’m on Netflix 24 hours, 7 days a week. Plus, younger people don’t even get involved in cable and all that stuff.
I don’t have cable anymore. I have Apple TV.
And Netflix pays just as well. There’s just no downside. It’s what the networks just don’t realize. Meeting with these network people is like talking to your grandparents and talking to the Netflix guys is like talking to your weird 25-year-old neighbor who has a very nice house but HOW? He’s always wearing a hoodie and carrying coffee around. (Both laughing.) I want to talk to the people who are thinking of the next thing and not of the past and how awesome they were.
They do take things off of Netflix. Do you talk about how long it’s going to be on?
Oh yeah, you can make a million arrangements. When (this special) runs out I can say “Hey guys, can you keep this one going?”and they’ll go, “Sure let’s work on a secondary price.” It’s called the second buy. It’s like re-leasing a used car. I mean, it’s still a good car so do you want to renew your lease or do you want me to take it somewhere else and try to sell it?
I know you’ve performed a few times for the troops through the USO. I’ve heard that the war is over, but I can tell you as someone who lives in Norfolk that people keep getting deployed. So do you have any plans to go back to perform in Afghanistan or Iraq?
Here’s what I know I won’t do. I called Lewis Black the second Obama said that we’re sending troops to Syria and I said, “Okay, here’s the thing: No, no and no.” Because Assad scares me and I think it’s weird that he’s an eye doctor. But Isis has added a level… I’d really think twice. I mean, we performed in Mosul and Isis owns it now.
Did you see the Frontline this week about Isis?
Yeah I did. I love my country and I do feel sorry for all the troops getting deployed. I will go to any base on US soil and do free shows but I’m too scared (to go to Iraq). Nor would I go to West Africa where they’re sending National Guard people to help with Ebola. And God love the people willing to help but I said to Lew, don’t even think about saying yes if they call us, cause we usually go together.
How you feel about the new Pope?
I’m a huge fan of the new Pope. My mom has always been in line more with Catholicism than I have been, but I love that he’s new thinking but still old school. He went to a special thing recently and gave a shout out to all the exorcists. There you go! Those guys never get a shout out.
He went to a conference about the devil and there were about 300 approved exorcists and I’m like, “This is so old school!” And ever since I saw the movie The Exorcist, I do believe in the devil and I believe that there are crazy things going on and I’m glad that this Pope has got it in check. And my dad went to a Jesuit high school, college, and law school, and I’m a huge fan of the Jesuits because they make you think outside of the box. This Pope is so Jesuit—can we have some critical thinking? Can we have someone who can do a syllogism? But I do worry that he may be so progressive that the old school contingency might try to get rid of him. And I would never want to see that happen because he’s the first bright light in the Catholic Church in a very long time. I was so creeped out by the old Pope. I mean, really, you’re going to wear red Prada shoes? First of all, clearly, you’ve never seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada, so how about not Prada? And second of all you’re the Pope! You shouldn’t be wearing Prada. You’re the leader of the Christlike people! Jesus had sandals, not even good ones.
Jesus did have some bad sandals.
The Pope did say the other day that he believes in angels, and my mom said, “Isn’t that nice” but that’s one that that he kinda has to. He just can’t say, “Oh that whole ‘angel’ thing? I’m not really on board…”
Oh yeah and the angels are at least half of the merch at the Cathedral gift shops…
(Laughing). Exactly, you can’t cancel the gift shop!
Do you think Obama will do anything wild in his last years in office?
No. He always seems like he’s about two weeks behind. I don’t know if there’s just too much to do or what. Like the Ebola thing, there is no cohesive leader here, clearly. Lew was all on board with Obama but he’s not a wizard, he’s just a guy who has to go along with all of the other crazy crap that other presidents go through and try to get along with people who hate his guts…
Well, it doesn’t appear that anything is going to get easier for him…
I was having a conversation with a nice reporter guy who said, “I can’t remember a time where this country was more polarized…” and well, there was the Civil War. I mean, that was pretty bad, pulling out bayonets and cannons. I think most Americans are somewhere in the middle going “enough already with this nonsense.”
It’s the gridlock more than anything.
I also think it’s because they’re selfish bastards. Most (Congresspeople)… it’s all about them and what kind of clip are they going to get for their next campaign commercial and too many rich people, and they’re already rich, and the jobs (in Congress) don’t pay so you know that it’s got to be about their ego because why else would you do it?
Do you think you think campaign finance reform would help?
Absolutely. There should be caps. If I wanted to run for Senate, well, I can’t. I can’t buy a TV commercial. We’re creating dynasties of generations who have the money and then they rule us. It’s bizarre. They’ve completely disenfranchised all normal people. That’s why I think people looked at Steve Forbes and said, “Yeah, okay him. He’s a billionaire and so he clearly doesn’t need more money…” but his eyes were just too weird.
It’s like how I felt about Dick Gephardt. And I’m from St. Louis and I want to root Dick Gephardt on but you can’t be a president without eyebrows. There’s something weird looking about you.
You would think that someone could fix that, too.
Yeah someone could have used a little eyebrow pencil and helped the guy out.
Kathleen Madigan will be at the historic Attucks Theater 1010 Church St, Norfolk, VA 23510 on November 21 at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased here.