Comedian Ron White introduced her during one of his recent Salute to the Troops comedy specials on CMT as "the funniest woman on the planet," and she's been on the Tonight Show more times than even she can count, so why isn't this celebrated comic who's widely revered by other comedians not more famous?
"My career has never been a bonfire, it's just one more log on the fire at a time," Madigan said in a phone interview from her L.A. home that she rarely stays in. "It's all just another thing to add: a comedy special, CMT, Sirius radio." And the list goes on, from VH1's I Love the (insert decade) specials to Celebrity Poker Showdown to a 2011 Showtime special, Gone Madigan.
She first came to the attention of middle America on the second season of Last Comic Standing, an NBC reality show that pitted comics against each other for a TV contract.
She was among a strong group of comics that included eventual winner John Heffron, Alonzo Bodden, Gary Gulman and Ant. She was the only one that no one ever challenged, which meant she got little screen time.
"I kept saying, 'Ant, come on man, challenge me,' " and he'd say 'No way. I'll lose.'
"That's one of the flaws of the show. Good comics got voted out because people never got to see them perform."
She made it to the finals but when it came time for the home audience to vote, she was eliminated.
The 47-year-old St. Louis native with blue collar appeal didn't stay idle long, racking up multiple tours with the USO, late night talk shows and 100 standup gigs a year these days.
She has good rapport with soldiers on her USO tours and Salute to the Troops specials on CMT. She just came back from Afghanistan and she's blunt: "It's a dump."
"This soldier tried to make me feel better and said it's not that bad and I said 'Where were you raised that this isn't that bad?' It doesn't even meet my dump expectations."
She's more comfortable with sports and politics than pop culture, and with jokes about her own large Catholic family over the Kardashian family. Of meth labs all over her home town: "I would never do a drug that involves rednecks and science."
She'll soon be taping another television special and in February will tape another Ron White special for the troops on CMT, benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation.