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Comic Kathleen Madigan works hard to get audiences to laugh

| Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

Kathleen Madigan doesn't try to be funny. She just is.

That doesn't mean that the former journalist doesn't work hard at the funny business. Maybe it's her Midwestern work ethic, or Catholic guilt. Or, perhaps, she's driven by a fear of ending up as a hostess at a Cracker Barrel near her native St. Louis.

"I guarantee you we can go into a post office and find a woman or man who could actually sing for real," says Madigan, who performs Friday at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg. "But comedy isn't something you can just do. You have to go do it to get good at it."

She's talking about her stint as a judge on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," where she voted on who would advance to the next round and who would be banished.

"It's a comedy show, so we have to kind of be funny about it, as well," says Madigan, who, as a contestant, previously had made it to the finals of the show. "You can't just be all sappy and sad. I don't even remember what I said. I thought 'This is bleeping horrific. I can't do this.' Because my nature isn't to be mean anyway. Some of the people were just clearly insane. For whatever reason, some people show up that are nuts."

She's more comfortable judging the candidates in next year's presidential election. That includes President Obama.

"I can't believe any of it," she says. "Every time I turn on the TV, he's saying, 'America, I'm going to need your help on this one.' I'm like, 'Dude, I'm busy! I thought you were going to handle this!"

On her website, she evaluates presumptive GOP front-runner Mitt Romney: "He and his family look like the pictures of the families already in the frames when you buy them."

Madigan and fellow comic Lewis Black performed for troops in Afghanistan on a USO tour in December. It's a dump, she says.

"You're flying around in a helicopter and you see camels," she says. "I looked at Lewis Black. He said 'Those are wild.' I said, 'Lewis I don't even know what that means. They don't have numbers and saddles on them. We've flown to the Bible. We're literally in the Bible.'"

It was hard to reconcile the feeling of having your toes in the sand and a bitter cold snapping at your exposed parts. They performed outside.

"It doesn't make sense if it's freezing and there's sand. It's like telling my brother, 'Go into your garage, stay in your walk-in freezer. Come out every 15 minutes, and I'll throw some sand in.' That's what it's like."

Additional Information:

Kathleen Madigan

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Admission: $30-$35

Where: Palace Theatre, Greensburg

Details: 724-836-8000 or thepalacetheatre.org

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