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Aisling Bea

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Aisling Bea
Bea in 2014
Aisling Clíodhnadh O'Sullivan

(1984-03-16) 16 March 1984 (age 40)
Kildare, Ireland
  • Comedian
  • actress
  • screenwriter
Years active2009–present

Aisling Clíodhnadh O'Sullivan (born 16 March 1984), known professionally as Aisling Bea (/ˈæʃlɪŋ ˈb/ ASH-ling BEE), is an Irish comedian, actress and screenwriter. She created, wrote and starred in the comedy series This Way Up on Channel 4.[1][2] As a stand-up comedian, she won the So You Think You're Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012, being only the second woman to win the award in its then-25-year history.[3] She also appears regularly on light entertainment comedy panel shows such as QI and 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Early life and education[edit]

Bea was born Aisling Cliodhnadh O'Sullivan[4] in Kildare, Ireland.[5][6][7] Her father, Brian, was a horse veterinarian who died by suicide when Bea was three years old; she was not told how he had died until she was 13.[8][9] She adopted the stage surname "Bea" as a tribute to her father, taking it from a short form of his first name.[10][11] Bea and her younger sister, Sinéad,[10] were raised by their mother, Helen (née Moloney), a secondary school teacher who had previously trained jockeys at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education[12] and was herself a professional jockey.[11] Her family was "obsessed" with horses and race meetings.[13]

In her youth, Bea worked as a tour guide at the Irish National Stud, but knew from a young age that she was not interested in the horse racing industry and instead loved performing.[8] Her great-aunt was playwright Siobhán Ní Shúilleabháin,[14] and musician Liam O'Flynn was a family friend.[15]

Bea was educated at Presentation Secondary School, Kildare Town, a Catholic school,[16] and studied French and philosophy at Trinity College Dublin.[17][18] While there, she was part of a student sketch comedy group.[19] She then studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[20]


After graduating from drama school, Bea spent two years trying to get work in theatre as a dramatic actress.[21] Instead, she was cast mainly in comedic television series including Cardinal Burns and Dead Boss (both 2012).[16] While filming Dead Boss in 2011, Bea decided to try stand-up comedy.[16][22] In 2012, she won the Gilded Balloon So You Think You're Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe[23] and, in 2013, was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for her show C'est La Bea.[24]

The exposure brought by these awards and festival appearances marked a "turning point" in Bea's career[20] and she began to appear as a regular guest on panel shows including QI and Insert Name Here.[25] Bea and Yasmine Akram co-wrote and co-hosted the BBC Radio 4 comedy folklore series Micks and Legends (2012, 2015);[26] it was nominated for a Chortle Award in 2013.[27] Bea won the 2014 British Comedy Award for Best Female TV Comic[28] and returned to Edinburgh in 2015 with the live show Plan Bea.[29] In 2016, she became a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats[30] and was a cast member on Taskmaster in 2017.

Bea has continued to act in television sitcoms including Trollied (2014–2015), The Delivery Man (2015), and Amy Huberman's Irish television series Finding Joy (2018). Additionally, she has acted in the crime dramas The Fall (2016) and Hard Sun (2018). In 2018, she and Sara Pascoe began to co-host the BBC Radio 2 comedy chat show What's Normal?[31] She recorded a 15-minute stand-up special that was released on Netflix in late 2018.

She stars in the Netflix comedy-drama series Living with Yourself (2019),[32][33][34] and is the star and head writer of the Channel 4 comedy series This Way Up (2019–present). She also appeared in the ITV drama series Quiz (2020).

For her work on This Way Up, Bea won the BAFTA 2020 British Academy Television Craft Award for Breakthrough Talent.[35][36]

She appeared as Sarah in the 2022 Doctor Who New Year's special "Eve of the Daleks".[37]

In January 2024, she was one of 10 comedians in Amazon Prime Video's LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland.[38]


Bea was a vocal supporter of the Repeal the 8th campaign in the successful 2018 Irish referendum to introduce legal abortion in the Republic of Ireland,[20][39] including contributing an essay to Una Mullally's Repeal the 8th a month before the vote.[40] She previously campaigned for same-sex marriage legislation in the successful 2015 Irish referendum.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
2009 Fair City Cliodhnah Norris 3 episodes
We Are Klang Inspector 1 episode
The Roy Files Ticket girl (voice) Episode: "Truth and Lies"
Belonging to Laura Leanne Thompson Television film
2009–2014 The Savage Eye Various 4 episodes
2010 Inn Mates Elf Pilot
L.O.L Various Pilot
Freedom Aisling Pilot
Come Fly with Me Mary O'Mara 1 episode
2011 Lewis Hotel receptionist 1 episode
Holby City Amelia Warner 1 episode
2012 Cardinal Burns Sally 5 episodes
Dead Boss Laura Stephens 6 episodes
In with the Flynns Naimah 1 episode
The Town Carly 3 episodes
Trivia Ruth 6 episodes
Assassin's Creed III Emily Burke (voice) Video game
2013 Fit Various 13 episodes
Soul Sacrifice Similia (voice) Video game
Quick Cuts Customer 1 episode
Tattooed Eve Short film
Very Few Fish Gráinne Short film
2014 Playhouse Presents Toddler Woman 1 episode
The Architects Hayley (voice) BBC Radio 4
4 episodes
The Assets Kara Jensen 1 episode
Vodka Diaries Nic Pilot
The Sunny Emma Pilot
2014–2015 Trollied Charlie 13 episodes
2015 Funny Valentines Sarah 2 episodes
The Delivery Man Lisa 6 episodes
The Trap Marie
Nish Kumar's Christmas Agent Short film
2016 Bullet to the Heart Jane Short film
Damned Anne-Marie 1 episode
The Fall Kiera Sheridan 4 episodes
2017 Drunk History Guinevere 1 episode
Gap Year Kendra 2 episodes
Taskmaster Series 5 contestant 8 episodes
2018 Hard Sun Mari Butler 5 episodes
Plebs Minerva 1 episode
I Feel Bad Simone 1 episode
Finding Joy Amelia 6 episodes
2019 State of the Union Anna Episode: "Plaster Cast"
Living with Yourself Kate Elliot 8 episodes
2019–present This Way Up Aine 12 episodes
Writer, executive producer
2020 Love Wedding Repeat Rebecca
Quiz Claudia Rosencrantz 3 episodes
2021 Home Sweet Home Alone Carol Mercer
Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Margot (voice) Animated film
2021–2022 Amphibia Captain Beatrix (voice) 3 episodes
2022 Doctor Who Sarah Episode: "Eve of the Daleks"
2023 Greatest Days Rachel
And Mrs Gemma
2023–2024 Avoidance Megan Season 2
2024 Alice & Jack Lynn Miniseries[41]
Swede Caroline Louise
TBA Svalta TBA Post-production[42]

Stand-up comedy[edit]

Year Title Channel Venue
2009 Sabotage BBC Radio 4 Extra Live at Hoxton Hall
Fresh From the Fringe BBC Radio 4 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
2013 Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy Spectacular BBC Three Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Russell Howard's Good News BBC Three Riverside Studios
Set List Nerdist Channel
2014 Live at the Apollo BBC One Hammersmith Apollo
2014–2016 Channel 4's Comedy Gala Channel 4 O2 Arena
2018 Netflix Comedy Lineup Netflix

Panel show appearances[edit]

Since 2016, Bea has been a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats, having previously been a guest on the show in 2013 and 2014.[citation needed] Her guest appearances on other panel shows include[citation needed]:


  1. ^ Marine, Brooke (9 July 2021). "This Way Up: Aisling Bea's Bittersweet, Life-affirming Tragicomedy". www.wmagazine.com. W. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Aisling Bea - Breakthrough Talent". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Aisling Bea wins So You Think You're Funny?". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  4. ^ Humprheys, Georgia (30 July 2019). "Life's on the up for Aisling Bea ahead of new TV comedy". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ Coates, Laura (8 March 2017). "10 awesome Kildare women making waves in the world". Leinster Leader. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Five Essentials: Actor". IdeasMag. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. ^ "100 funny jokes by 100 comedians". The Daily Telegraph. 30 December 2017. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  8. ^ a b Nolan, Larissa (24 July 2016). "In another life: Aisling Bea". The Times. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  9. ^ Bea, Aisling (4 November 2017). "My father's death has given me a love of men, of their vulnerability and tenderness". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b Jones, Alice (12 August 2015). "Aisling Bea interview: The prize-winning comedian with the CV of a veteran on bringing her second stand-up show to the Fringe". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Richard (18 July 2014). "Funny woman, Aisling Bea, is of good stock". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Aisling Bea". Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018.
  13. ^ Whelan, Doug (4 November 2014). "Insider Interrogation: writer and actor Aisling Bea". Irish Independent. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  14. ^ Andrews, Kernan (10 October 2013). "From horses to hilarity". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  15. ^ @WeeMissBea (14 March 2018). "Aisling Bea" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ a b c Jones, Alice (12 August 2015). "Prize-winning comedian Aisling Bea on making the leap into stand-up". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Aisling Bea Official Site". AislingBea.com. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  18. ^ Jarlath Regan (19 September 2015). "Aisling Bea". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (105 ed.). SoundCloud. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Interviews - Development & Alumni". Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d Parkinson, Hannah Jane (18 September 2016). "Aisling Bea: 'I am making no money in LA, but creatively it is rewarding'". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Interview with Aisling Bea (Humour Me Comedy Podcast)". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Biography.... Who Is This Broad?". AislingBea.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Aisling Bea wins So You Think You're Funny". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  24. ^ Duffy, Claire. "Aisling Bea is nominated for Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer Award". Entertainment.ie. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  25. ^ Dessau, Bruce (19 April 2015). "Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Aisling Bea". Beyond The Joke. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Comedy Irish Micks and Legends back on BBC Radio 4". RTE.ie. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Irish Micks And Legends". RadioListings.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Aisling crowned Queen Bea at British Comedy Awards". Herald.ie. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  29. ^ Logan, Brian (13 August 2015). "Aisling Bea: Edinburgh festival review – peppy set from standup with star quality". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  30. ^ "8 Out Of 10 Cats returns to E4". British Comedy Guide. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Sara Pascoe and Aisling Bea pilot Radio 2 chat show". British Comedy Guide. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  32. ^ Petski, Denise (10 August 2018). "Paul Rudd To Topline Netflix Comedy Series 'Living With Yourself' From Timothy Greenberg". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  33. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (28 August 2018). "Aisling Bea Joins Netflix's 'Living With Yourself' Opposite Paul Rudd". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  34. ^ Nelson, Samantha (18 October 2019). "Netflix's Living With Yourself fuses sitcom humor with high-tech anxiety". The Verge. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Aisling Bea – Breakthrough Talent". BAFTA. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  36. ^ Bryant, Aoibhin (18 July 2020). "Aisling Bea dedicates BAFT to win to late father in hilarious acceptance speed speech". Extra.ie. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  37. ^ Kelly, Stephen (1 January 2022). "Doctor Who, Eve of the Daleks, BBC1, review: Back at its best, with a sensational performance from Aisling Bea". i.
  38. ^ "Cast for Graham Norton's Prime series LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland announced". The Irish Film & Television Network. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  39. ^ "Standup for Choice - Repeal Eight". Repeal Eight. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  40. ^ Evans, Martina (7 April 2018). "Autonomy edited by Kathy D'Arcy, Repeal the 8th edited by Una Mullally review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  41. ^ Ravindra, Manori (9 August 2023). "Andrea Riseborough, Domhnall Gleeson Lead Offbeat Channel 4 Romance 'Alice & Jack,' Directed by 'Compartment Number 6' Helmer (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  42. ^ Ntim, Zac (6 November 2023). "'Svalta:' XYZ & Wayward Wrap Production On Horror Pic With Nick Frost And Aisling Bea". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  43. ^ "I Literally Just Told You". channel4.com. Retrieved 31 December 2021.

External links[edit]