Comedian Kathleen Madigan has been touring for three decades, selling out theaters across the country. The St. Louis native’s Hot Dogs and Angels tour will make a stop at Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Fox Theater on March 8. Her stand-up special Bothering Jesus is currently streaming on Netflix.
I noticed a lot of casinos on your tour schedule. Do you have a preference between casinos and regular theaters?
No, I like ’em both. I always prefer a casino as a human, because I like to gamble. But the crowds are fun in both; probably more fun in a casino. People are usually in a better mood.
Being from St. Louis, what are your thoughts on the Los Angeles Rams playing in the Super Bowl?
A lot of people don’t know the history of this, but this is why a lot of us seem more bitter than normal people whose city was abandoned. [Rams owner] Stan Kroenke is such an egotistical, greedy bastard, he held the city of St. Louis up for ransom and said, ‘well, here’s what I need to stay.’ And the terms were completely unreasonable and he knows we could never meet them. At the bare minimum, if you leave, you should have to return [the personal seat license] money, considering the amount of money that he is making in L.A. reselling those same goddamn seats.
Were you rooting for the Rams?
No! I was rooting for him to have a heart attack on national television, fall out of the owner’s box, through the glass, tumble down, and literally be face down f----n’ dead in the middle of the goddamn field. That’s what would have made me happy, and everybody in St. Louis.
We can move on unless you have more…
No, it’s better to stop me. And I’m not even drinking. You should hear this when I’ve been drinking.
What’s a typical round of golf with Lewis Black like?
This is where I’ll give Lewis credit in public print. His emotional game has matured. He used to throw things out of frustration. He’s kind of chilled out on that. What I realized is Lewis needs someone, a constant companion, to talk to him the entire time he’s golfing. That drowns out the thoughts he’s having. He can’t be left in his own head or it can be a real debacle.
What is the whole USO tour experience like?
It’s definitely trippy. It’s probably, out of my whole career, the most memorable, out-of-this-world — nobody is that happy to see you when you show up! I’m gonna do the Chicago Theatre in a couple weeks. That’ll be great, and they’ll be awesome, but there’s a million things to do that night in Chicago. Some people are super happy I’m there, but not everybody. If you go to Kabul or Kandahar, goddamn everybody’s happier there. There’s nothing else to do. We really did have more fun than you should be allowed to have in a war zone. I felt a little bit guilty about that. Robin Williams was with us one time. We’re all comedians. He was a star. Big difference. There’s just a different level of fame and recognition and accomplishment. Not that I would want that, but it’s fun to see how excited people get. It’s fun to be that close to it and witness it and be part of it, but it’s not on you. I don’t want that in my life. I’m not even sure he did.
And he never turned it off, right?
No, he did, all the time. People say that but that’s not really 100 percent accurate. We had a super-long bus ride and his voice was very hypnotic, it was very soft, and it was very calming. But we just talked about our favorite books for two hours on this bus ride. There was a real Robin, but I think around strangers he would turn on that other person. People liked that person, but I preferred the non-funny smart guy. In Afghanistan we went in some room and there were soldiers from the nation of Georgia — not the state of Georgia — and he started speaking Russian with them. And I was like holy f--k. I said to Lew, “Seriously, I know he did the movie Moscow on the Hudson, I get it, but you don’t learn a whole language just from doing one silly movie.”
You wrote for Garry Shandling when he hosted the Emmys. Do you have any reservations about writing material that somebody else is going to use?
No, because it wouldn’t be anything I would use anyway. Because I’m writing it in their voice. Garry was so specific. He was so easy to write for. Lewis is very specific, Ron [White] is so specific. I just wrote Ron this really awesome thing, but he doesn’t have the capability to remember it, I don’t think.
A lot of comedians lately have had to apologize for things they’ve said, even if it happened years ago. Do you think there should be a line in comedy you don’t cross?
I don’t know, these conversations get so complicated. Here’s what I do know. When people say, what we’re supposed to be doing as comedians is bending the rules and twisting the norm and pushing the boundaries… Um, no. What you’re supposed to do is make people laugh. That’s the goal. This is like the Midwest union part of me. I was hired to do a job. My job is to make these people laugh. It’s not to make them think.
You gave up a career in print journalism to pursue stand-up. You must regret that decision every day.
[Laughs] I feel so sorry for you guys every time I hang up. Me and Lewis talk about this all the time. Lew’s like, “I don’t even know who I’m talking to anymore. I don’t think these people are reporters. I think it’s just some guy in his underwear in Cleveland.”