Comedian Kathleen Madigan visits West Virginia, come find out why Ron White says ‘nobody better’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Kathleen Madigan at Hollywood Casino (Part 1)

Comedian Ron White heaped praise on her, saying, “There’s nobody better than Maddy. She’s smart and just crushes it every time. She’s not just one of the best ‘female’ comics, she’s one of the best comics, period.”

Kathleen Madigan is coming to the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Wester Virginia on June 22, 2024. (Courtesy Hollywood Casino)

See for yourself as Kathleen Madigan cracks up the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia on Saturday night for her “Boxed Wine and Tiny Banjos” comedy tour.

“I can’t wait to get there, it’s a beautiful drive, I’ve done it many times, it’s a wonderful reason to get out of the city,” Madigan told WTOP. “(The tour name) is a joke about being at a bar with a snobby wine friend of mine. He was like, ‘Do they have a wine list?’ I’m like, ‘Lewis, we’re at a dive bar. They have boxed wine and there’s three colors. You should know that because if you look on the wall there’s a squirrel stuffed playing a tiny banjo.'”

Performing 250 nights a year, she has seen it all with no shortage of material from her family and friends.

“Lately I’ve been talking a lot about aging parents,” Madigan said. “I said to my friend Robert, ‘I don’t think my parents had a plan for old age.’ He said, ‘Oh no, they had a plan. The plan is us, Kathleen.’ Should you take their keys away? I followed my parents home from a casino, they had not drank at all and I don’t know how they didn’t get pulled over 18 times, he looked hammered, that car was jumping medians and that’s just their normal driving.”

Born near St. Louis, Missouri in 1965, Madigan didn’t listen to much comedy growing up, instead rocking out to the great bands of the ’60s and ’70s. She earned a journalism degree in 1988 and began working newspaper gigs before discovering stand-up comedy as a side hustle, preferring the late-night hours over early rises.

“I’m just not a morning person,” Madigan said. “[My friend and I] accidentally went to an open-mic night as a goof-off thing because we were bartending to make extra money, me and him did it for fun, then I just kept doing it.”

After successful appearances on HBO and Comedy Central, Madigan was named “Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic” at the American Comedy Awards in 1996, cementing her status as one of the great comics of our time.

“I never had big thing like a sitcom like Ray Romano, Roseanne [Barr] or Brett Butler,” Madigan said. “Sitcoms were all the rage for people of that age, but by the time they got to me, they were kind of over giving a standup a sitcom. For people my age, there wasn’t a thing like that, it was just a slow train, the little train that could, just going and going, and the only reason that you know you get there is that you don’t have to worry about your rent.”

After a couple comedy CDs with “Kathleen Madigan” (1998) and “Shallow Happy Thoughts for the Soul” (2002), she released DVDs with “In Other Words” (2006), “Gone Madigan” (2011) and “Madigan Again” (2013) before dominating the streaming world with Netflix’s “Bothering Jesus” (2016) and Amazon’s “Hunting Bigfoot” (2023).

“It was fun to work with Netflix, same goes for Amazon,” Madigan said. “They don’t really edit you. I showed them what I was going to do, sent them a tape from a theater like, ‘This is what I’m planning.’ They were like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Send it to us when you’re done and we’ll post it.’ Back in the day, if you had HBO and Showtime, you had to get on the phone with lawyers. When people say we’re so politically correct now, oh no, we were way worse.”

Along the way, she hosted the Sirius XM satellite radio show “Blue Collar Comedy,” paving the way for her weekly podcast “Madigan’s Pubcast,” which has racked up over 5 million downloads since it launched during the pandemic.

“It’s actually been a lot of fun,” Madigan said. “I thought it would be a chore that I would begrudge doing every week. I was going to stop after COVID, but I still wanted to do it. A lot of young people like podcasts. They didn’t even know I was a comedian. They found me through the podcast and then it’s like, ‘Oh wow, you do this other thing for a living?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, you’re young, so I won’t be offended that I’ve been doing this for 150 years.”

She even has a tie to Maryland as her best friend is comedian Lewis Black, who grew up in Silver Spring.

“I had to send him the announcement that Stevie Nicks wrote the (Fleetwood Mac) song ‘Silver Springs’ — I know it’s Silver Spring, she didn’t read the sign right. She just made it a bunch of ‘springs,'” Madigan said. “I sent it to Lewis and said, ‘How come you never told me this about Steve Nicks? I find this to be a failure on your part. You should know that Stevie wrote one of her greatest songs about your hometown and you don’t even know that.'”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Kathleen Madigan at Hollywood Casino (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on the podcast below:

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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