We caught up with Aussie comedian Kitty Flanagan to chat about going to the doctors, Charlie Pickering, and getting fired.
Kitty Flanagan is a veteran touring Aussie comic, and currently has a regular segment on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering; you’ve probably seen her Herd Immunity clip. We spoke with her ahead of the release of her DVD – Seriously? – out now.
What was it that got you into comedy in the first place?
It wasn’t like I was ever a big comedy buff or anything. I wasn’t one of those people with loads of comedy videos. I saw Billy Connolly once at the State Theatre and it just looked like he was having the best time ever, and that that would be a really fun job, but I didn’t really think about it again. Then I got fired from my advertising job, and I thought, ‘You know what? I’ll just try stand up once, I will try it once and that way I won’t get to 40 and wonder whether I could’ve done it or not, I’ll know that I can’t do it and then I’ll have got that stupid thing out of my system.’ That was the plan – do it once and get the bug out of my system. I did not expect it to go well, I didn’t do it thinking this was gonna be my new career, I literally did it so that I didn’t get to 40 and go, ‘I wonder if…’ I’m glad it went well, and I decided to do it again.
Is it true that you wanted to be an actress while you were at school?
I like performing. I think I was a bit of a show-off when I was in primary school, but the idea of being an actor and having to go to drama school and do all the serious stuff never appealed to me. I knew that I liked getting laughs when I was in front of an audience, but I didn’t think I’d be able to stand up there and do serious things, not like Shakespeare or anything. I could never wave my arms and be a tree, I’m always going to be going for a laugh and I’m always going to get in trouble. I did do drama at teachers college; I was supposedly gonna be a drama teacher as well as a PE teacher, and then I couldn’t be serious, I kept doing something stupid in the presentations, and I think they just found it a bit tedious.
How did you become so close with Charlie Pickering?
We did stand up together. We did the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow together, that might’ve been the first time I worked together with him on the circuit. I think when the show goes around you get put together with about four or five other people, so that was a good way to get to know someone. Then I was over in London, he came and stayed for a few days when he was passing through, then The Project happened and we sorta kicked it off, even though I wasn’t in the same state; they were in a studio in Melbourne and I was in a studio in Sydney. It grew from that. It was always fun doing stuff with Charlie, ’cause you always knew he had good timing and he would always go with whatever you were running with, so that was always good. It was always nice to have a comedian on the panel. So yeah, it was a no-brainer when he asked me to come and join The Weekly. It’s great – they pretty much let me do whatever I want, which is a very rare thing for a comedian to be able to get to do whatever they want on a television spot. It’s a very rare thing to even get a weekly television spot, but to get one where you’re pretty much allowed to do whatever you want, it’s perfect.
Finally, what can we expect from the Seriously? DVD?
I have to say that was an interesting show, in that it was my most personal show. It was really the first time that I ever stood on stage and decided to reveal a bit more about myself and my actual life. Up until then I kinda skirted around being too personal, but I really opened the floodgates with this one and talked about a relationship that I had with a policeman, which was pretty funny in hindsight – a cop and a comedian, with nothing in common. Why were we together? Watch the DVD and find out! Spoiler alert – it doesn’t turn out well – best to have something in common. There’s a lot more on there too, I always like to make my shows, as I always say just jokingly, ‘fun and learning’, so there’s a few educational aspects in there as well. For example, when you go to the doctor I always find it really hard – when you’ve got a problem in the ‘lower regions’, like what do you call things? I find it very difficult to go in and be scientific and medical about things, but you can’t really go in and say, ‘There’s something wrong with my bumhole.’ I always go a bit red in the face when I’m at the doctor. I don’t know what you’re supposed to call things. I’ve come up with a solution, and that’s on the DVD too, so that alone is worth watching for; just if you struggle at the doctor with what you call things. Remember – it’s fun and learning.