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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan

January 22nd, 2011

Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Kathleen Madigan has been performing stand-up for about 20 years now and in 1996 won the Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic at the American Comedy Awards. She's appeared on shows like The Tonight Show and other late night talk shows more than a dozen times, plus she was one of the litigators on Root of All Evil and was featured in Surviving the Holidays, which I reviewed previously. On the other hand, Gone Madigan is only her second concert DVD, her first being In Other Words. Does she work best in 5 to 10 minute shorts, or can she carry a full hour-long set?

The Show

As per usual, writing a review for a stand-up concert DVD is incredible hard without getting into massive spoiler territory. You can't describe a joke without ruining it. Describing Kathleen Madigan's style as observational is also not helpful, as that is the most common genre of stand-up comedy. Her topics vary from the recent USO Tour she did, which segues into politics, which segues into her family. Her family is a main source of humor for this set, but she also discusses pop culture figures like Tiger Woods and Oprah, as well as her bad habits, religions, etc.

Quite frankly, it's all over the place.

I know, that's not very helpful when it comes to judging the DVD / Blu-ray and whether its worth picking up or not. The question is, did I laugh? Yes. A lot. And very loudly. She has excellent timing and her ability to point out the absurdities she encounters is wonderful. There were only a few parts that started to lull, plus a few jokes that were creeping close to being in bad taste, but those were minor complaints compared to the number of big laughs she generated.

The Extras

There are two extras on the DVD, a short interview and a longer behind-the-scenes featurette. What's called a behind-the-scenes featurette is less behind-the-scenes and more Kathleen Madigan talking with her family. There are some great bits here and you can see where she gets her sense of humor. This is better than a lot of similar releases and adds quite a bit of value to the overall package.

The Blu-ray has nothing extra, while the video quality is a little suspect. (In fact, it's 1080i, which is very unusual.) The sound is better, with very clear dialogue, which is a must for a stand-up concert release. Plus there's enough reactions coming from the surround speakers to make you feel like your part of the crowd, without interfering with the jokes.

As for the price, the Blu-ray costs just 20% more according to the list price, which is a good deal. However, over on, the DVD has a much deeper discount and the Blu-ray costs about 50% more, which is not a good deal.

The Verdict

Stand-up comedy is obviously very subjective, but I was very impressed by Kathleen Madigan's set in Gone Madigan. It's worth checking out, while it has enough replay value and solid extras to lift it to a purchase. It's not really necessary to buy the Blu-ray, so unless the price is similar to the DVD, go with the latter instead.

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