Comedian and St. Louis native Kathleen Madigan credits growing up in the Midwest for her sense of humor. "We have an underdog attitude that makes us...observers rather than participants," She told host Ophira Eisenberg on stage at the Bell House in Brooklyn. "People that are in cool cities are actually participating in their lives...And we're just sitting there going, 'Why the f*** are we here?'"
Today, Madigan tours non-stop, performing nearly 300 shows a year. Her Irish Catholic family of nine is a constant source of material — a role they've come to love. Once, Madigan told her father that he was the inspiration for an upcoming Tonight Show set. He was so excited — that was, until she had to change the material. "I've never seen anyone so devastated...He was like 'I've told everybody, how am I going to un-tell people?'"
Her Catholic upbringing also inspired the title of her recent Netflix special, Bothering Jesus. "[With] my Christian friends...I was always shocked and amazed, and a little bit envious of their direct relationship with Jesus." Madigan noted that they turned to Jesus for even the smallest issue."'Well, the dryer broke...so I sent a prayer to Jesus.'" For her, things were a little different. "I was given a laundry list of people to contact — that's what the nun said. 'You're not to bother Jesus.'" Put another way, to Madigan, Jesus is "the CEO...Someone eats your lunch, you don't go to the CEO, you go to Human Resources for that!"
To honor the many miles Madigan has toured, we decided to quiz her about being on the road, and we invited her friend of 25 years frequent tour-mate, comedian Lewis Black, to play against her.