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May 23, 2018

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Hitting the road with comedian Kathleen Madigan

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Luzena Adams

Kathleen Madigan returns to the stage at the Mirage.

Comedian Kathleen Madigan is a fan of Las Vegas, and not just because she’s been performing here since she was in her early 20s.

In her recent appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s consistently hilarious web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, she snuck in a great little line supporting Las Vegas’ superiority as a vacation destination, about how taking a cruise is “like going to the Bellagio and then it just floats away.”

“I don’t have any reason to float away,” says Madigan, who recently made the cruise ship rounds for a comedy tour. “I see no reason for us to leave medical services, police, fire, just detach yourself from the things that make society society. And you’re sailing through places you actually want to be, so it’s just taunting you. Look at that beautiful island! Now get back on the ship.

Madigan feels much more at home onstage in Vegas, where she’ll perform at the Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage on June 23 (find ticket info here). She started on the Strip at the Catch A Rising Star comedy club when it was at Bally’s, also spending time at the Comedy Stop at the Trop and the Improv at Harrah’s. “I think it’s totally cool that I get to headline the Mirage and my face is up there, because I remember being a younger comedian and seeing George Carlin’s name up on the [Vegas casino marquee],” she says. “I just said to my sister how bizarre it is that I’m at the Mirage, because it basically took me 25 years to get across the street. But I did it, and it’s something I’m proud of myself for.”

An admitted Midwesterner originally from St. Louis, Madigan doesn’t mind the touristy audiences for Vegas comedy, instead showing appreciation for the range of Americans who show up. “I like it, although some people don’t. Sometimes it’s not the most comedy-sophisticated audience because comedy is a cheaper ticket in Vegas than whatever show might be playing [in the casino]. If I’m on the road in a place like Philadelphia, people aren’t randomly buying a ticket, they come to see me. But that’s fine, I don’t care.”

Madigan is a true stand-up veteran — she’s been doing it for 28 years and has eschewed TV and movies for touring and filming specials like her most recent, Bothering Jesus, on Netflix — who still likes to hit the road as much as possible. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is travel,” she says. “I tried to be a flight attendant until I realized I could tell jokes. I just really like going. I just booked Casper and Gillette, Wyoming, and I did Deadwood [in South Dakota] last year and it was awesome, exactly like the HBO show. Crazy awesome. It’s just fun for me, getting off the plane and knowing nothing.”

As long as it’s traveling by plane, train or automobile … no more boats. “Right, as long as when I call 911, something will happen,” Madigan laughs. “I was on the cruise ship with my friend Lewis Black, and I told him, do you know what they do with dead people on this ship? If somebody dies? They put them in the freezer until we get home. That’s it. Forget it.”

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