A Mental Vacation

In the spirit of healing through laughter and funny women, Kathleen Madigan is coming to Jamestown for the first time.

As part of the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, Madigan will appear at the Reg Lenna Civic Center on Friday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m.

According to Madigan, she’s heard much about the festival from other comics she knows, but has never performed at nor attended it before.

“They speak very highly of it,” said Madigan. “I’m very good friends with Lewis Black, and he did it (the Lucy Comedy Festival) a long time ago. He actually brought me a T-shirt from there, which was my favorite roadshow ever. I just lost it last year, which was a big loss, because it was my favorite shirt to sleep in.”

During the festival performance, Madigan will feature material she describes as: “A lot of midwest, Irish Catholic upbringing view of the world.”

“If you say Irish Catholic to the people who are Irish Catholic it automatically means a set of rules,” said Madigan. “I can’t believe that in this day and age when parents take their kids’ side – I’m always shocked. I’m like, ‘Really, you believe your kid over an authority?’ Because my parents never, ever, ever. The nuns could have said I murdered eight people and my parents would have come down to the school and said, ‘Kathleen, what have we told you about murdering people?’ and I would go, ‘But I didn’t murder anyone.’ ‘Well, you know what, the nuns said you did Kathleen, and that means you did. So, why don’t you quit lying?’ My parents never took my side.

“When the Boston bombing thing happened, the mother of those two bomber boys got on TV. They had pictures of them, and she said, ‘Yes, this is my son, but this is a government setup – my sons did not do this,'” continued Madigan. “My brother called me and he goes, ‘Are you watching this … Mom would sell us down the river in a God-given minute.’ If they had pictures of us, standing in the area, clearly with backpacks filled with bombs, not only would dad hand us over to the FBI, if they asked for us, but he’d probably blame us for other stuff. He’d probably go, ‘You know what, she was in New York during 9/11, you might want to check into that. I’ve thought she had a weird look in her eyes since she was 12, and I’ve told the whole family – there’s something wrong with her.’ Maybe my parents were never in denial. They assessed us for what we were, and figured we probably did the worst.”

Madigan will talk about other things that astonish her during her performance, as well as more about her family, current events and how there’s too many people for anything to not be chaotic.

“Everything is chaotic,” said Madigan. “You have to laugh, or otherwise you seriously would go crazy it’s too much. So, my goal is that you get to check out for an hour and a half of any problems and just have fun. It’s the reason I like to play golf, there’s no phones and it’s three hours of not thinking about anything. I just want my show to be an escape – a mental vacation.”

Tickets to Madigan’s Friday, Aug. 2, performance start at $15.50, and are available by calling the Reg Lenna Civic Center box office at 484-7070 or by visiting reglenna.com. The Reg Lenna Civic Center is located at 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information call 484-0800, visit lucycomedyfest.com or kathleenmadigan.com.


For Madigan, Ball’s “I Love Lucy” was never an inspiration, but she was a performer that Madigan enjoyed a great deal. Madigan feels that her style of performance, stand-up, is quite different than the type that Lucy offered, she said.

“I’m going to do stand-up my whole life – like Joan Rivers,” said Madigan. “I’m not going to be in a movie, or a sitcom. And in her sitcom, (‘I Love Lucy’) a lot of her (Lucille Ball) comedy was physical, which isn’t something I do, and I won’t do it. It’s just not my thing – but I like watching it.”

Yet, there is something about Ball which Madigan finds particularly interesting. After reading a couple books about Ball’s life, Madigan learned that even more impressive than what the public saw on television is the fact that Ball was one of the first women to ever to own her own production company, and therefore own her own shows.

“Even take woman out of it, most entertainers aren’t that good of business people – myself included,” said Madigan. “It bores me to tears. Any kind of business talk I just drift out and start Googling pictures of cats. But back then, and for a woman, it was even harder. She was quite serious off the clock, and I don’t think many people realize that.”

However, Madigan decided to take business into her own hands when she signed up to host a new special. Madigan fans who subscribe to Netflix will find a special exclusive treat when “Madigan Again,” a Netflix Original, is released later this year.

“It’s a Netflix original, and I’m really excited about it,” said Madigan. “Right now they are fantastic to work with. I polled all of my Facebook and Twitter people to ask, ‘Where did you see ‘Gone Madigan’ first?’ and the majority of people said Netflix. Some said Showtime, because it premiered on Showtime, and then it went to CMT, but Netflix was by a landslide. So, I felt that it seems weird as a comedian that my shows not going to be on TV, because that’s where they always were, and I think that’s the future.”


The Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy annually hosts a Festival of Comedy, which occurs Aug. 1-4, and in the past has hosted comedians such as Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres and Paula Poundstone. In addition to Madigan’s Friday, Aug. 2, performance, the festival will feature a number of other comedians, including: Pandora Comedy’s “Comics To Watch” with Tammy Pescatelli, Keith Alberstadt, Joe Machi, Cy Amundson and Jackie Kashian, Thursday, Aug. 1; the GI’s of Comedy, Friday, Aug. 2; Bill Engvall, Saturday, Aug. 3; and “Comedy Late Night” with 16 new voices of comedy, which will serve as the recording platform for the festival’s first live album, Aug. 1-3.

According to its website, The Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy is a nonprofit organization with the mission of preserving the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz by enriching the world through the healing powers of love and laughter and by developing the comedic arts.

During the festival, the Lucy Desi Museum, established in 1996, will also be available to the public. The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center and the Lucy Desi Museum are located at 2 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information visit lucy-desi.com.