Kitty Flanagan

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Kitty Flanagan
Born1968 (age 50–51)
Sydney, New South Wales
MediumStand-up comedian, writer, actor.
NationalityAustralian
Years active1995-present
GenresSketch comedy, autobiographical comedy, observational comedy, character comedy, multi-media supported comedy, comedy songs
Relative(s)John Flanagan (father)
Penny Flanagan (sister)
Notable works and roles
Utopia
The Weekly with Charlie Pickering
The Project
The Sketch Show
Full Frontal
Websitekittyflanagan.com

Kitty Flanagan (born 1968) is an Australian comedian, writer and actor who works in Australia and the United Kingdom. She has also performed in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal Just For Laughs festival.

Early life[edit]

Flanagan attended high school at Monte Sant'Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney.[1] Flanagan became drawn to comedy in Year 5 when she appeared in a school musical production of Alice In Wonderland in which she dressed as a bunny which pretended to fall asleep during the performance.[2] Flanagan said that "Secretly I always wanted to be an actor, but I knew that I didn’t have the mindset for it."[3] Flanagan recalls that as a teenager, she would put on avant-garde performance shows with her younger sister Penny and they would involve their younger brother Michael by dressing him in tutus and giving him dance moves to do.[3]

Career[edit]

In Australia, Flanagan has appeared on various television series including Full Frontal, The Project, Rove Live, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Have You Been Paying Attention? and Utopia. In the United Kingdom she is known for her appearances on The Sketch Show.

Early career[edit]

At the age of 21, Flanagan road-tripped around Australia and liked Western Australia so much that she moved there and lived in Cottesloe for a couple of years then lived in Bunbury and Geraldton.[4] Flanagan occasionally read news and weather at a country radio station, waited tables [5] and lasted only three weeks cleaning and packing crayfish in a Geraldton crayfish factory before she resigned.[4] Flanagan trained and worked as a physical education teacher briefly before beginning a job in advertising.[4][6]

In 1989, Flanagan began her five-year stint as an advertising agency copywriter, creating campaigns for products like Quik (Nesquik) chocolate drinking powder.[7] After five years as a copywriter, she was fired in June 1993.[5][8][9] Following her exit from advertising, she worked as a bartender in a hotel where there was an open mic night, so she decided to try stand-up.[10] Flanagan's first attempt was a success and it started her comedy career in 1994 doing stand-up at an open mic night at the Harold Park Hotel in Sydney.[11] Flanagan's debut performance as a stand-up comic at the Harold Park Hotel led to a spot in the final of the hotel's Comic of the Year competition where she placed third and won a bottle of red wine.[5] Flanagan had only been doing stand-up comedy for six months [12] before she was spotted in December 1994 by the producer of Full Frontal.[5] Flanagan joined the cast as both a writer and performer in 1995.[5] Flanagan left Full Frontal in late 1996 to concentrate on her stand-up while she continued writing and acting for television in Shaun Micallef's World Around Him, The Micallef Program, The 50 Foot Show and The Fat.

2001–2009: UK and the world[edit]

Flanagan moved to the UK in 2001 to further her comedy career and to do more stand-up. She performed on television in The Sketch Show as well as making numerous stand-up appearances on The World Stands Up for Comedy Central. As well as performing, she produced a short film, called Dating Ray Fenwick, in which she also had a small role and also wrote material for her former Sketch Show co-star Karen Taylor's sketch comedy show Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor.[13] She also wrote for various other shows on the BBC, Channel Four and Sky Television.[11] She also worked with author and screenwriter Sean Condon to develop his screwball comedy script Splitsville as a hook for a television series, which later evolved into an e-book.[14][15] During her time in the UK, she would regularly return to Australia for short visits and appear on television shows including Rove, Good News Week, Spicks and Specks and The Sideshow.

Flanagan took her stand-up internationally and performed at many major comedy festivals, including Edinburgh, Melbourne, Montreal, Kilkenny, Cape Town and Johannesburg.[11]

2009–2018[edit]

After eight years touring the world and performing stand-up in comedy clubs in England, she returned to live in Australia in 2009.[3] She had three months worth of work lined up in Australia and more kept coming in so she decided to stay.[9] She starred in the Comedy Channel's 2009 TV special I Can't Believe It's Not Better[16] before being contacted to join The Project for segments on various trending news topics.[9]

In 2010, Flanagan began touring Australia with her stand-up comedy show Charming and Alarming.[17] Flanagan toured with her sister and show co-star Penny Flanagan, and tour manager and former Full Frontal co-star Glenn Butcher, who is the founding member of the 1980s Newcastle comedy troupe the Castanet Club.[18]

In 2013, Flanagan toured Australia again in the stand-up show Hello Kitty Flanagan.[19]

In 2013, while in Montreal to perform her stand up show Hello Kitty Flanagan, she appeared as a guest comedian on a television special hosted by Wil Anderson called Wil Does Montreal: Just For Laughs which explored what goes on behind the scenes of Montreal's Just for Laughs international comedy festival and featured some of the world's best-known comedians.[20] Working Dog Productions asked Flanagan to work on their TV comedy series Utopia in 2013 and cast her in the role of Rhonda the public relations manager,[9][21] which Flanagan played for three seasons.[22]

Flanagan resigned from The Project in August 2014 but stayed for four months to finish the year. Charlie Pickering approached her to join his new TV show The Weekly with Charlie Pickering where she created the segments "Spectacular Failures of the 21st Century" and "Problem Solver".[12] As the series progressed, Flanagan created two other segments, "Bandwagon Rider" and "Human Barometer".

For two weeks during the end of 2014 and early 2015, Flanagan was a stand-in for Annabel Crabb's weekly newspaper column for Fairfax Media.[23]

In February 2015, Flanagan was the third ambassador for the Adelaide Fringe, succeeding singer Katie Noonan and inaugural Adelaide Fringe Ambassador and fellow comedian Paul McDermott.[24] She toured Australia with her third stand-up comedy show Seriously? in 2015, with her entourage of two.[19]

Flanagan is an advocate of writing and writers in the screen industry, and she sponsored the Best Narrative Award at the 2015 Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival in Gympie, and was one of the judges for the film scripts in that category.[25][26]

In 2017, Flanagan and her sister Penny contributed as writers for the TV series Drop Dead Weird.[27] Flanagan began an Australian national tour of her fourth standup show named Smashing in the same year.[28]

In March 2018, Flanagan released a book of personal and professional autobiographical stories called Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies.[29][30]

Flanagan announced her departure from The Weekly With Charlie Pickering during the final episode of season four (2018), but returned for The Yearly with Charlie Pickering special in December 2018.[31][32][33]

Corporate work and literary events[edit]

Flanagan tailors her comedy material to suit corporate events, galas, award nights and launches. Flanagan has written and presented videos for clients such as Nokia and Subaru.[34] An accomplished Master of ceremonies, Flanagan hosted countless awards nights and provided after-dinner hilarity for companies as diverse as Australia Post and the Australian Pharmaceutical Association.[34] Flanagan was Master of ceremonies at 2015 Art of Music Live which is a music concert held every two years, where a group of Australia’s top visual artists come together to create an original exhibition and each artist chooses an iconic Australian/New Zealand song to inspire an artwork.[35] The work is then auctioned at a gala dinner in the Art Gallery of New South Wales with all proceeds from Art Of Music Live going to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, who transform lives through music.[35]

In 2012, Flanagan joined a panel of writers, musicians and artists for the literary event called 'Women of Letters', an interactive talk that examines the lost art of letter writing and also celebrates women in writing. Funds raised go to a Victorian not-for-profit charity animal rescue centre called Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary.[36] In 2013, Flanagan was invited to be part of Adelaide's new literary festival called Word Adelaide,[37] where she participated in two events during the four-day program. Flanagan hosted 'Yarn Spinning',[38] the opening event of Word Adelaide that celebrates two long established Australian traditions: telling tall stories and going to the pub.[39] Flanagan also featured in the event 'In Their Own Words', sharing the stage with Matt Lucas of Little Britain fame, Professor Roly Sussex and musician Guy Pratt who performed in bands Pink Floyd and Icehouse, to explore how the language of comedy has changed our lives and culture.[38][39]

Hosting[edit]

Flanagan hosted and performed stand-up at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala in 2010.[40] Flanagan hosted and performed stand-up comedy at the 'Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow' to launch the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March 2017,[41] which then screened on the ABC and ABC iview in April 2017.[42] In 2017, Flanagan co-hosted New Year's Eve: The Early Night Show with Hoot the Owl, which screened on the ABC and ABC iview in December as part of the public broadcaster's New Year's Eve programming.[43][44][45]

Community and charity work[edit]

In 2013, Flanagan and her dog Henry became ambassadors for Delta Society which involves taking trained therapy dogs to visit hospitals, care facilities and schools across Australia.[46][47] As ambassador, Flanagan helped the Delta Society to spread the word and promote Delta Society's charitable programs including Delta Therapy Dogs, Classroom Canines and Delta Dog Safe.[46][47] Flanagan is particularly fond of Delta’s Classroom Canines program which uses the principles of dog therapy to assist children with reading difficulties and gets children excited about reading and writing.[47]

Flanagan has donated her time and talent to perform at charity and fundraising events such as Comedians Unite for the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal to help victims of Queensland's 2011 floods,[48] and she donated half of the profits from her 2013 Bundaberg show to the Queensland Red Cross Flood Appeal.[49] In 2009, Flanagan performed in Sydney at the Jerry Lewis 'Laugh For Life' Charity Concert to support Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Australia (MDFA) in their fund raising and awareness efforts to fight the devastating muscle wasting disease.[50] Flanagan appeared alongside fellow Australian comedians Julia Morris, Paul McDermott, Mikey Robins, Peter Berner, Fiona O'Loughlin, and Tom Gleeson in the fundraising gig at Sydney's Enmore Theatre.[50] In 2003 while Flanagan was living and working in the UK, she joined some of the UK's top comedians for a charity fundraiser hosted by fellow comedian Steve Coogan.[51] Flanagan appeared alongside Ross Noble, Johnny Vegas, Simon Pegg, Tim Vine, Lee Mack, Matt Lucas, Rob Brydon and Mark Williams in Coogan's 'Drugathon 2' to raise funds for the Chemical Dependency Centre (now named Action on Addiction) and RAPt (The Rehabilitation of Prisoners Trust).[51]

Personal life[edit]

Flanagan was born in Manly, a suburb in Sydney's north. Her father, John Flanagan, is an Australian author, best known for the Ranger's Apprentice [52] and Brotherband novel series.[9] Flanagan is the sister of Penny Flanagan,[9] who is a musician and one half of 1990s indie band Club Hoy and often appears in her shows.[52] She also has a brother named Michael, who is a chef and runs a coffee shop in the snowfields of Japan.[9][52] Flanagan lives in Sydney with her two pets; a Burmese cat named Sarge and a Havanese dog named Henry.[19][53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Film
Year Award Category Work Result Role Ref.
2005 New York City Short Film Festival Award Best Comedy Short Dating Ray Fenwick Won Writer, director [54]
Audience Choice Dating Ray Fenwick Won Writer, director [55]


Television
Year Award Category Work Result Role Ref.
2016 6th Annual Equity Ensemble Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Utopia Season 2 (2015) Won Shared with Rob Sitch, Anthony Lehmann, Celia Pacquola, Dave Lawson, Emma-Louise Wilson, Luke McGregor, Michelle Lim Davidson, Toby Truslove. [56][57]


Stand-up Comedy
Year Award Category Work Result Role Ref.
2010 Helpmann Awards Best Comedy Performer Charming and Alarming Nominated Writer, performer [58][59]
2013 Adelaide Fringe Best Comedy Hello Kitty Flanagan Won Writer, performer [60]
Helpmann Awards Best Comedy Performer Hello Kitty Flanagan Nominated Writer, performer [61][62]
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Barry Award for Best Show Hello Kitty Flanagan Nominated Writer, performer [63]

Stand-up comedy tours[edit]

Tours
Year Title Notes Role
2000 Flanosserus Debut solo stand-up show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Writer/performer
2002 Kitty Flanagan Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Ireland Writer/performer
2003 Kitty Flanagan: Thick Debut stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Writer/performer
2004 'The Sketch Show' cast HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado, USA Writer/performer
2005 Kitty Flanagan New Zealand International Comedy Festival Writer/performer
2006 Kitty Flanagan Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Canada Writer/performer
2006 - 2007 Kitty Flanagan: A Festival of Me with Penny Flanagan in Australia and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Writer/performer/singer
2007 Kitty Flanagan Cologne Comedy Festival in Germany Writer/performer
2008 Kitty Flanagan Cape Town Comedy Festival in South Africa Writer/performer
2008 Comedy Convoy Kitty Flanagan with Dai Henwood, Jason John Whitehead, Jason Cook and Simon McKinney at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival Writer/performer
2008 Kitty Flanagan Birmingham Comedy Festival in the UK Writer/performer
2009 Kitty Flanagan Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow in Australia Writer/performer
2009 Kitty Flanagan Jozi International Comedy Festival, Durban Comedy Festival in South Africa Writer/performer
2010 - 2011 Charming and Alarming with Penny Flanagan in their debut at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brisbane Comedy Festival, Perth's Wild West Comedy Festival and regional centres in Australia Writer/performer/singer
2012 Kitty Flanagan's Two Thumbs Down and a Raspberry workshop tour with Penny Flanagan in Australia Writer/performer/singer
2012 - 2013 Hello Kitty Flanagan with Penny Flanagan at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and regional centres in Australia Writer/performer/singer
2013 Hello Kitty Flanagan Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Canada Writer/performer
2014 Kitty Flanagan and the Whiteboard workshop tour with Penny Flanagan in Australia Writer/performer/singer
2014 - 2016 Seriously? with Penny Flanagan at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Canberra Comedy Festival and regional centres in Australia Writer/performer/singer
2016-2017 All New Whitey McWhiteboard Tryout Show workshop tour in Canberra and Sydney and regional Australia Writer/performer
2017 Smashing - A Sneaky Preview Preview show tour in Victoria Writer/performer
2017-2019 Smashing with Penny Flanagan at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, capital cities and regional centres in Australia Writer/performer/singer

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2003 You Can't Stop The Murders Berryl Actor
2005 Dating Ray Fenwick Shirley Writer/director/actor
2009 I Can't Believe It's Not Better Kate Hanagan Actor
2011 Reservoir Cats Kitty DJ Voice actor
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1995–1996 Full Frontal Writer/actor 41 episodes
1996 Shaun Micallef's World Around Him Actor 1 episode
1998 The Micallef Program Writer/actor 3 episodes
1999 The 50 Foot Show Writer/actor 6 episodes
2000-2001 The Fat Herself 3 episodes
2003–2004 The Sketch Show Writer/actor 8 episodes
2005 Rove Live Herself 1 episode
2005-2011 Spicks and Specks Herself 4 episodes
2006-2008 Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor Writer 14 episodes
2007 The Sideshow Herself 2 episodes
2008–2012 Good News Week Herself 18 episodes
2009–2014 The Project Herself 85 episodes
2009 The Jesters Radio Host (voice) 2 episodes
2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala Herself (host and performer) 1 episode
2011 The Comedy Festivals Preview Show Herself 1 episode
2012 The Unbelievable Truth Herself 3 episodes
2013 The Australia Day Showdown: Can You Be Too Australian? Herself 1 episode
2013 Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight Herself 1 episode
2013 This Week Live Herself 1 episode
2013 Wil Does Montreal: Just For Laughs Herself 1 episode
2014-2019 Utopia Rhonda Stewart 32 episodes
2014-2016 The Book Club Herself 2 episodes
2015-2018 The Weekly with Charlie Pickering Writer/Herself 58 episodes
2015-2019 Have You Been Paying Attention? Herself 30 episodes
2015-2018 The Yearly with Charlie Pickering Writer/Herself 4 episodes
2016 58th Annual Logie Awards Presenter/Herself 1 episode
2017 Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow Host/Herself 1 episode
2017 Whovians (episode 2 - Smile): 13th Doctor Who Auditions Herself 1 episode
2017 Drop Dead Weird Writer 2 episodes
2017 True Story with Hamish & Andy (episode 5 - "Jack's Story") Concert Master 1 episode
2017 New Year's Eve: The Early Night Show Herself/Presenter 1 episode
2019 Better Homes and Gardens (episode 8 - cooking with Karen Martini) Herself/Guest 1 episode

Web series[edit]

Web Series
Year Title Role Notes
2016 Rusty Fragment - The Acupuncturist Actor 1 episode

DVD releases[edit]

DVD Recordings
Year Title Extras/Special Features Notes
2009 (production year)

2011 (release year)

Charming and Alarming
  • The 7PM Project (now The Project): Kitty Flanagan's segments on 'Pet Résumés', 'Portion Distortion', 'Sickies Spike', 'Online Haggling', 'Quiet Carriages'
  • The Great Debate: The Olympics Are Fools' Gold
  • 1996 Full Frontal sketches
  • Good News Week segment: The Couch
  • Headliners
  • The Sideshow with Paul McDermott: Kitty and Penny Flanagan sing 'Show The World'
  • Kitty Flanagan's short film: 'Dating Ray Fenwick'
  • Region 4
  • Language: English
  • Running time: 60 minutes
2014 (production and release year) Hello Kitty Flanagan
  • The Project: Kitty Flanagan's segments on 'Social Media', 'Wedding Gift Registries', 'Climbing Trees', 'Dangerous Vegetables', 'Lady Stress', 'Mothers' Questions'
  • The Unbelievable Truth
  • Kitty's Home Movie: Teach Your Dog Tricks
  • Hello Kitty Flanagan Promotional Video
  • Sandgropers' Special: Bonus for Perth people
  • Region 4
  • Language: English
  • Running time: 70 minutes
  • Hello Kitty Flanagan is available on Netflix for online streaming in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Sweden, UK, USA
2016 (production year)

2017 (release year)

Seriously?
  • Have You Been Paying Attention?: The Moth
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Spectacular Failures of the 21st Century - Coffee
  • The Yearly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Spectacular Failures of 2015 - Dishwasher Cooking
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Problem Solver - Flushable Wipes
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Spectacular Failures of the 21st Century - Humans
  • The Yearly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Bandwagon Rider - Pokémon
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Problem Solver - Sex
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Kitty Flanagan's Bandwagon Rider - Vaping
  • Region 4
  • Language: English
  • Running time: 101 minutes (includes 29 minutes of extras)
2016 (production year)

2017 (release year)

Kitty Flanagan: The Live Collection - DVD Boxset
  • Kitty Flanagan: Charming and Alarming
  • Kitty Flanagan: Hello Kitty Flanagan
  • Kitty Flanagan: Seriously?
  • Region 4
  • Language: English
  • Running time:

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 2018: Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies by Kitty Flanagan (ISBN 9781760632052)[29][30]

Published contributions[edit]

  • 2014: 'Sharing the things we don't like makes a good date' (Fairfax Media)[66]
  • 2015: 'Being child-free is no reason to keep mum' (Fairfax Media)[67]
  • 2015: 'Is so much noise really necessary?' (Fairfax Media)[68]
  • 2015: 'Here's the tip: US customs is a grey area' (Fairfax Media)[69]
  • 2016: 'Ankle-biters are a total walk in the park' (Fairfax Media)[70]
  • 2016: 'The stupid appliances we waste money on' (Fairfax Media)[71]
  • 2016: 'Modern houses don't need so many bathrooms' (Fairfax Media)[72]
  • 2016: 'Assimilation won't happen overnight but it will happen, just like Pantene' (Fairfax Media)[73]
  • 2016: 'Here's a fact: an opinion is not the same as a fact' (Fairfax Media)[74]
  • 2017: 'When I look at Donald Trump, I see a bit of myself' (Fairfax Media)[75]
  • 2017: 'Teenagers know absolutely everything, except...' (Fairfax Media)[76]
  • 2017: 'Donald Trump has taught me anyone can be a dictator' (Fairfax Media)[77]
  • 2018: 'Avoid the lazy cliches and dig deep for conversation starters with children at Christmas' (Fairfax Media)[78]
  • 2018: 'What's not to love about pavlova? Plenty actually' (Fairfax Media)[79]
  • 2018: 'Let's wrap up this grabby gift registry caper' (Fairfax Media)[80]
  • 2018: 'Kitty Flanagan: A ham-handed separation.' Extract from Kitty Flanagan's Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies, published by Allen and Unwin (Fairfax Media)[81]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kitty Flanagan: Australian Comedian and MC". The Celebrity Entertainment Bureau. Entertainment Bureau. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
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