Considered a comedy veteran, Kathleen Madigan’s 29-year career has transported her from the guest seats of Jay Leno and David Letterman to the passenger’s seat of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
She’s toured from Ireland to Afghanistan at festivals, appearing in theaters and on USO tours. In fact, she’s almost always touring, spending 300 nights of the year on the road and splitting the rest of her time between Los Angeles and her lake house in the Ozarks of Missouri. The American Comedy Award’s “Best Female Comedian” was born in Missouri and tries to escape there when she can, after paying her dues in the neon lights and glamour of Hollywood.
“Once I realized I was making enough money to leave L.A., I decided to leave,” Madigan says of escaping the limelight.
She finds Missouri “not great and not horrible” but still better than the urban hubs where most of her contemporaries set up shop. “I want a lake,” Madigan says. “I want to be able to golf. New York City is for the super young or the super rich. On a lake in Missouri, you can have a tiny cabin or a big house and we’re all still having fun.”
With so many dates on tour, though, she doesn’t have the opportunity to spend that much time there. The stand-up stage has become her new home.
Her current tour, titled “Bigfoot and Boxed Wine,” includes an Oct. 18 stop at the Charleston Music Hall.
Listening to Madigan do stand-up is reminiscent of speaking with a beloved aunt: Sometimes what she says is a little kooky, but it’s comforting and honest, too. She pulls inspiration from a lot of things, but mostly it’s the life experiences you just can’t make up.
“It’s been the same subjects my whole life: Family, travel, the news, silly stuff,” she offers.
Lately, she’s been homing in on the news, with a particular eye on the Supreme Court Justice nomination committee.
“I remember when my grandparents were 85,” she says. “My parents would want me to take them out, just, like, walk them around because they were old. I don’t want a gaggle of them making decisions about my country. Half of them can’t stay awake during the State of the Union. Like, it’s 8:30, you guys.”
As with most comedians, politics is part of Madigan’s stage banter.
“(Comedians) at least have an idea of what it’s like because we’re traveling,” she says. “We know what’s generally agreed upon. It’s not me making things up just to pick on someone. When I’m doing those jokes, the reaction is that people clearly think the same thing.”
She goes golfing on Kiawah Island occasionally with fellow comedian and friend Lewis Black, but other than that, this will be her first time in Charleston since 2015.
Madigan says she’s a “mystery” person. She loves the Loch Ness monster, UFOs and Bigfoot, which is why the hairy beast is part of the tour’s title.
“I know they’ll find them or some version eventually,” Madigan says. “We find something new every month in the ocean.”
She likes to keep things fresh.
“If I’m doing it correctly, I do a third of the last (TV) special, a third of the new special and a third of the greatest hits,” she says. “I would get so bored if it was any other way.”