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Comedian Kathleen Madigan opts for a simpler lifestyle in order to not sacrifice the one thing she loves most — freedom. Madigan could be making much more money and garnering more fame, but she is glad that is not the case.

“I do what I want, when I want — I always have,” Madigan said. “Whatever propels people to money and fame, I don’t have it.”

Madigan will make one of her 100 scheduled appearances this year performing standup comedy at 8 p.m. Friday at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is $30 in advance, $32 on the day of the show.

Madigan said that she has been on tour her entire life, only stopping for maybe “a couple weeks at a time.”

However, she has had the chance to end that trend. Madigan has been offered to do a sitcom or possibly be a new host on “The View,” but she said she prefers to set her own schedule.

“I can’t not go on the road, unless I wanted to try for a sitcom and sit in LA,” Madigan said. “But I don’t want to do that and have to go into work every day and put up with all these other people who aren’t funny.”

Madigan was raised in St. Louis and got her start at a chain of comedy cubs in the area called Funny Bones. The city played a major part not only in her growth as a comedian but in the material she uses in performances.

“It’s a lot of Midwest and family stuff, everyday topics with nothing earth-shatteringly brilliant about it,” she said. “I call it a mental vacation; if you come, you will not think about your problems for an hour and a half, and that’s all entertainment is supposed to be, in my opinion.”

Madigan’s Midwestern roots make her well-suited for an Iowa City crowd. Melea Dau, the marketing director at the Englert, said that was an appealing trait that played a part in booking Madigan.

“She is great for our area because she has a background with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and she herself is a really likable person — she has a farm and is very relatable to our eastern Iowa area,” Dau said.

Touring is just one thing Madigan has focused on this year to propel her to a higher status. She also has an hour special called “Madigan Again” on the Showtime television network.

Englert Executive Director Andre Perry said bringing in a comedian of Madigan’s caliber does not happen often.

“We want to make sure to have an ongoing tradition of comedians going through [the Englert], and she is very current and relevant,” he said.

On top of filming a television special, Madigan has made numerous appearances on “Jay Leno” and “David Letterman.” But even with prime-time stardom on her résumé, Madigan continues to remain down to earth and simply happy.

“You can never give an Irish person just enough, because then we won’t try hard enough,” she said. “I am happy, I am good, I could make more money, but why? I’d rather be golfing.”


Kathleen Madigan
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington
Admission: $30 in advance, $32 day of the show

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