When the David Letterman scandal involving sex and blackmail broke in 2009, it sent the media into a feeding frenzy for salacious sound bites and lurid headlines. However because I couldn't care less what public figures did in their private lives unless laws had been broken, the only part of the story that interested me was a gender based workplace detail that some reporters had worked into their coverage as a mere afterthought.
Yes, most of us were already well aware as to just how rare it was to see a funny woman in front of the camera. Yet in 2009, journalists buried what should've been the real lead upon revealing that at the time (and just as it had been for years), no female employees – not even a token chick or two– were working in the writers' rooms run by Letterman, Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.
Of course, a radical shift won't occur anytime soon, but it's an important fact to keep in mind particularly when you understand that the reason you hear others complain that so much of late night comedy sounds the same is because – unlike real life – there's only one point-of-view being represented.
Therefore, while I was unfamiliar with Kathleen Madigan before given the chance to review this disc (again owing to the broadcasters boys club), it was thrilling to discover that the comic championed by peers Lewis Black and Ron White as one of the best and funniest in the country was none other than a forty-something Midwestern woman.
And yes, intriguingly enough and unlike Black or White, the only veteran comedian who felt the need to provide a quote that took gender into account as a "qualifier" for his praise of the keenly quick-witted observer of human nature was none other than late night host Jay Leno who dubbed Madigan “one of America's funniest female comics.”
Yet while there are certain aspects of her sixty-five minute set that definitely depend on her gender to pay off – particularly when stating she'd believe in polygamy if instead of fifteen year old passive girls, men married Madigan and ten of her world-weary, educated, cynical friends – overall, her daring yet relatable content is versatile enough to entice and provoke viewers of all walks of life in equal measure.
And although material about the comedy goldmine that is Sarah Palin sounds a bit dated in this 2010 Showtime special, Madigan nonetheless manages to put an impressive new spin on the old comics' standby in their bag of tricks by offering us a decidedly different take on political humor.
Whether dreaming up fictitious text messages sent from President Obama to Hilary Clinton or proposing that we solve the illegal immigration problem in the form of a game show wherein we can vote people out of our country including Americans who haven't “panned out,” Madigan breathes new life into what could've been extremely predictable terrain such as the war in Afghanistan and the health care crisis.
Although a few bits that incorporate foreign accents seem slightly too broad and out-of-sync with the rest of her forward-thinking ideas, Madigan gives Kathy Griffin a run for her money in an endlessly hilarious and far more thought-provoking critique of the questionably negative impact that Oprah Winfrey has on her legions of fans.
Given the inventive jam-packed set filmed at New York City's Gramercy Theater, it's only natural that Madigan begins to loose her footing late in the performance during a slightly disjointed segment on aging, which meanders everywhere from Vegas to Madigan's parent's home. Fortunately, the consummate professional is soon able to lead us back into a solid comedic rhythm in time for the conclusion of what is otherwise a smashingly successful act.
A solid high definition transfer with dynamic sound, Gone Madigan not only made me mad about Madigan but also incredibly glad that for once, the media didn't bury the lead by ensuring that more viewers will get a chance to see why the world of comedy is long overdue for a fabulously funny female point-of-view.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.