Standup Kate Quigley turns divorce and dating into comedy gold


Comedian, actress, and TV host Kate Quigley wanted to move to California after graduating from high school, but theater scholarship took her to Chicago instead. “I got a degree in acting,” she says. And she got married when she was 19. “It was to a guy I dated my senior year of high school,” she says. “Not really a high-school sweetheart. We only dated a year, and then we got married. He moved with me to Chicago, and we stayed married for 10 years.”

Kate Quigley

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy

They divorced four years ago after being together for over a decade. “So that’s what the bulk of my material is about,” she explains, “because that’s what my life is about: starting over at, like, age 30.”

That’s turned out to be a lot harder than it sounds. “I was so codependent, I was so used to having someone to help me with everything. I didn’t start learning to be grown up until I was 30. I never even did my own laundry, which makes me sound like a princess, but I wasn’t. I was just married to this guy that did everything.”

The split was amicable, and the two remain friends. “We were just so young,” she laments. “When you get together at that age, your interests start to grow apart. I wanted to be in L.A., and he wanted to be in New York. I wanted to act, he was more about making money. You can’t be in this business if your goal is money. People that get rich in show business are just lucky, I think.”

That being said, it was still emotional. "It was a really hard process,” she states. “The first year, I was one of those people that dealt with it by making it look like everything was great. I’d go out and party like crazy and do standup. If you looked at my Facebook back then, you’d have thought, ‘Wow, she got divorced and she doesn’t care.’ I really didn’t deal with it for a year.”

That’s when it really hit her. “I think I was in denial,” she says, “and when I started dealing with it, that’s when the really raw material started coming out, comedy-wise. Comedy comes from when

you deal with the hardest things. The mostly painful things in life are where you find the funniest


“Me starting over,” she adds, “and dating, and learning to live alone and pay bills — and especially doing it in L.A. — it was like learning in the lion’s den.”

Getting back on the horse, in terms of dating, continues to be a challenge. “I always tell guys I’m dating to never come see me do standup, because they’re seeing a heightened version of me.”

The idea that they’ll be talked about onstage or on her podcast, #DateFails, also makes the fellas skittish. “And no guy wants a girl that’s funnier than him,” she adds. “I have a whole podcast about bad dates and bad date stories. I never give names, but I also point out the good things they did.”

Sometimes her co-host, fellow comic Stephen Kramer Glickman, will point out that she might have been in the wrong on a date. “And then I have to call the guy and apologize. ‘Yeah, hey, it turns out, I’m an asshole.’”

But it’s all good for Quigley, who headlines the House of Comedy this week. “I’m doing okay. I’m doing as good as anybody. I’m in therapy, so I’m fine.”


Kate Quigley performs

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy

408 East Broadway, Level 4, Mall of America, Bloomington 

Wednesday through Sunday

Tickets are $13 to $19.