Despite her topics, dealing with everything from Sarah Palin to healthcare to immigration, tough sells within the modern political climate, Kathleen Madigan is never angry. Where other comics start becoming coarse, or even frustrated with current events, Madigan is collected and calm.
Despite performing stand-up for two decades now, she shows little signs of slowing down, the material fresh within Gone Madigan, lively as ever. It’s a natural performance, as if she’s sitting down in the room with the audience to have a normal chat that covers these topics. She’s not trying to offend either, just bring some liveliness to the audience for a bit while on stage.
She even riffs her family, but in a good natured way. It’s general ribbing, something that makes her seem like she’s out to have a good time, not just perform. More importantly though, it’s funny. Her pacing, her style, and her own laughter give Going Madigan a spark. Even if you’re a huge Oprah follower, you can’t deny what she says is true during a string of rampant cracks at the famed talk show host.
Gone Madigan runs about an hour, the proper amount of time given the material while leaving the viewer wanting more. Direction is fairly bland with all of two crowd shots, but then again, Madigan is having such a great time herself there’s little need for the assist. That’s not so much an issue with the direction as it is praise for her own performance, the camera never in need of a cut to the crowd to liven things up.
Shot digitally and only in 1080i, the easy comparison is to another stand-up piece released by Image with an AVC encode, If You Will. The stats are exactly the same. The end result is a muddy looking disc, no real fine detail to speak of, and completely dull black levels. The source runs rampant with artifacts, probably no fault of this adequately high-bitrate AVC encode, all of the blame on the lackluster already compressed source material.
Noise is situated behind Madigan, the curtain awash with the after effects of low quality digital video. Those few shots of the crowd are even worse, the limited light leading to further problems. The heavy overhead lighting causes the contrast to blow out against the white jacket Madigan is wearing, while the light/dark contrast with the background reveals steady aliasing.
In close there’s no high-fidelity detail captured, skin resembling a plastic mannequin. The sequined shirt is more of a mass than individually defined objects. When the camera pulls back, her face turns into a swarm of artifacts. Colors are barren, flesh tones leaning pink and the stage flatly designed. There are no definitive interlacing issues to take note of, so if there’s anything positive it’s that the 1080i source doesn’t seem to cause problems.
A DTS-HD mix is more than acceptable, light years ahead of the video quality for its ability to create a fine hall effect. The crowd’s cheers, clapping, and laughter are distinct in the surrounds, while they stay there in close-ups. If the camera pans back, the stereos pick up on the action like they should, with Madigan still distinct over everyone.
The speakers undoubtedly placed around the Gramercy Theater are replicated at home. Madigan’s act is picked up through the surrounds via a satisfying echo. The wrap-around effect is complete and total, the source audio containing no faults or fidelity issues.
An interview is more or less some behind-the-scenes planning with Madigan that was filmed for this disc. A more in-depth feature, oddly called behind-the-scenes, takes us through New York and introduces audiences to Madigan’s family.
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