Ever since she’s returned from her comedic sojourn in the UK a few years back, Aussie audiences just can’t get enough of Kitty Flanagan. Upfront, clever and as witty as she is pretty, Miss Kitty chatted with Mandy Nolan in the lead-up to her shows at the Star Court this week.
Kitty, what is it do you think that makes you such a funny girl? I think I’m just an attention seeker and I discovered early that the best way for me to get attention was to be funny.
Do you write regularly, or does your show come together in a different way? This is the first time I’ve actually carved a new show from scratch. Before, when I worked the circuit, new sets of material just magically evolved from working night after night in clubs. Whereas this time I had to sit down with a pen and paper and go ‘okay, ready, set… write 80 minutes of funny stuff!’
What are the challenges you face each time you put together a new show? Putting together this show was a really enjoyable process… in hindsight. At the time, I felt absolutely nauseated and thought I would never get it together. My manager forced me by booking and promoting eight weeks worth of shows in tiny 60-seat rooms, which gave me a deadline and meant I couldn’t pike out. Obviously you have to advertise those gigs as ‘try out shows’ so audiences come with the right attitude but it’s really the only way to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s amazing how the show evolved; I’m not sure even a third of what I started with is still in there… thank Christ, ‘cos it turns out a lot of it was absolute garbage!
Tell me a little about the show you are touring at the moment? This is my best show so far. In that it’s ‘very me’. My last show was a compilation of all my best bits put together from years of doing the comedy circuit whereas this one is more personal and has a lot more ‘here’s what I reckon about this’ type of stuff in it.
Are there subjects that you often want to talk about but feel you can’t… of course you can elaborate… Yeah, it seems like I’m not allowed to give my opinions on maternity leave, breast feeding or child rearing (certainly not at dinner parties anyway) because I’m not a mother. Which is annoying ‘cos I’m also not the prime minister or a Gen Y youth or a man but I can say whatever I like about any of those things.
Do you still think that audiences are mistrustful of women comics? What have we ever done to them? Fortunately, when people come to my shows now, they tend to know what I do and like what I do (otherwise why buy a ticket?) so I don’t feel that pressure so much anymore. But in a comedy club situation certainly, the audience sees a woman walk out and their first thought is ‘Oh no, a woman’. The second thought is ‘Right, well this better be funny’. Where audiences assume a male comedian is funny and wait for him to prove otherwise, with women it’s the other way around. They assume you are going to be rubbish and are pleasantly surprised when you’re not.
If you weren’t a comedian, Kitty, where do you think you’d be now? Creatively frustrated and depressed, working in an advertising agency. But on the upside I’d probably have buckets of money and a house on the harbour! However my dad, who quit his advertising job so he could work from home and spend more time with his family (which might be common now but was a huge thing to do back in the 70s) once told me you should never do a job just for the money, it’s more important to be happy and actually enjoy what you do. A very wise man. And now a very successful author ‘cos he stuck to his guns and did what he liked doing and eventually it all came together.
Your one greatest regret? Not having children.
Best decision you’ve ever made? Not having children.
Stupidest mistake? I’ve made heaps. But possibly the biggest one was going out with a gravedigger and agreeing to meet him for our date at his ‘work’. That’s right, I went off to meet a strange man in a cemetery, at night, surrounded by empty graves and digging equipment. I’ve always thought that could have gone horribly wrong. Turns out he didn’t kill me and dump me in a shallow grave, although he came pretty close to boring me to death.
What should we expect for this upcoming show? Bit of everything. I’m putting on a real show this time. I’m loving working in theatres and rolling (literally) all over that stage! I can promise you funny stories, physical comedy, stupid voices, a bit of fully clothed burlesque dancing, some experimental movement, a huge sparkly curtain and a couple of killer, catchy songs too, courtesy of my sister and special musical guest Penny Flanagan. Worth seeing the show just to see her.
Saturday and Sunday at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore.