Kitty Flana­gan

Af­ter decades in the com­edy scene, Flana­gan is fi­nally ready to talk about what you re­ally want to know about: her sex life

Time Out (Melbourne) - - MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL -

ASK YOUR­SELF HON­ESTLY, in your heart of hearts: are you good at sex? Kitty Flana­gan isn’t. “The only rea­son I know is that some­body told me,” she says. “At least I’m well aware. There are prob­a­bly heaps of peo­ple walk­ing around be­ing ter­ri­ble at sex and they have no idea. At least I know.”

Flana­gan has been work­ing in stand-up and TV (most re­cently as a show-steal­ing correspondent on The Weekly with Char­lie

Pick­er­ing) since the mid-’90s. Long­time fans will be sur­prised to hear that the co­me­dian’s new show, Smash­ing, will in­clude talk­ing about her sex life, as she’s stayed well away from the topic in the past. Talk­ing about sex doesn’t come nat­u­rally to her. “I come from a very con­ser­va­tive fam­ily,” she says. “If there’s a sex scene on TV we all get up and leave the room, or we are just very still and quiet and hope for it to be over.”

Why has she de­cided to tackle such an un­com­fort­able topic for Smash­ing? There are a cou­ple of rea­sons. For one, she thinks young peo­ple to­day, who have grown up in the age of in­ter­net porn, have a very un­re­al­is­tic idea of sex. “I’m here to set them straight,” she says. And for another, she’s ready to over­come her nat­u­ral ret­i­cence, in­spired by the true he­roes of our age, re­al­ity TV stars. “Ev­ery­one on re­al­ity TV is on a jour­ney th­ese days – you no longer have to go from A to B, you just have to over­come your fears. So I de­cided to make my show a ‘jour­rrrrrrney’ in the re­al­ity tele­vi­sion style, in that I’m talk­ing about sex.”

Flana­gan says over­com­ing her fears about talk­ing about sex has made her a braver co­me­dian in some ways, but in other ways she is more cau­tious. “I look back at some of the jokes I used to tell when I was start­ing out and I think, ‘I wouldn’t have the balls to say that now.’” She reck­ons so­cial me­dia has made it harder for co­me­di­ans to try out edgier ma­te­rial. “Back in the day you get up in front of a com­edy club and you tell a joke, and if they don’t laugh you don’t do it again. No one tore you a new one on so­cial me­dia. Just don’t laugh, you don’t need to pil­lory [the co­me­dian]. That’s how I learnt what was right and what was wrong on stage: I didn’t get laughs.”

Hav­ing said that, she doesn’t think there are any no-go ar­eas for co­me­di­ans, even in the age of Twit­ter fights and Face­book sham­ing. “My rule is so long as it’s funny, you can do it. The more sen­si­tive a topic, the fun­nier your joke has to be. You can’t just get an ‘oooooh’, you have to get a laugh as well.” kitty Flana­gan: Smash­ing, Athenaeum The­atre, 188 Collins St, Mel­bourne 3000. www.com­e­dyfes­ti­val.com.au. $44.90-$49.90. Apr 10-22.

“Some­body told me I was bad at sex. At least I know”

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