Kitty  Flanaghan
Kitty Flanaghan

A good laugh can lift your spirits

KITTY Flanagan enjoys making us laugh, and the multi-talented comedian says that is mostly because she loves being around people that make her laugh. She well knows the value of a good laugh, how it can lift the spirits and make you feel a few years younger.

"I am addicted to funny people," she said. "I'm lucky in my job, I work in the comedy industry so I am surrounded by funny people."

As well as regular appearances on The Weekly, The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention? and playing character Rhonda Stewart on ABC's Utopia series, Kitty has now penned a book every bit as funny as she is.

Entitled Bridge burning & Other Hobbies, Kitty writes with raw honesty and laugh-out-loud humour about her life experiences, ranging from being locked in an industrial freezer in WA, to learning yoga at a commune run by humourless, orange-robed crackpots with topknots. Then there are the many boyfriends she's had over the years, they make for hilarious reading. She also talks about her love of a bidet and loathing of a big black sofa.

"I love bidets, but Australians don't embrace them," she said. "All new building codes should include a bidet."

As for the black sofas, she says in her book "if men didn't exist, if we lived in some Wonder-Woman style ladies only island utopia, there would be no black leather lounges."

The book is written as a series of vignettes, and so intimate and honestly revealing you feel as though Kitty Flanagan is your new best mate.

"You can be a bit more honest in a book than you can on stage," Kitty said. "You can explain things, you have more time to give most sides of the story. You are not pressured by time in a book. On stage I might have only an hour, so I tend to cut the stories a bit shorter. But in a book, I can give more explanation."

Kitty has called on her childhood, her teenage years and the tough times starting out in stand-up comedy, for a number of the stories in the book, and her recall is fascinating and funny.

"You don't realise the stupid things you do in, say your 20s," she said. "I would never have the guts to do them now. That's why your 20s are great for that. When I began (in comedy) I went to Singapore (for work) and I thought it would change my life. I thought I'd come back a made comedian. I couldn't have been more wrong. It's all learning."

Well established now as one of Australia's leading comic talents, Kitty relishes in the many roles she is able to play, both on stage as stand-up and on television.

"I have a good mix in in my career now," she said. "The most surprising and gratifying thing is that I can tour the country, do the regions, not just work in the capital cities. I never thought that would happen. I thought I'd be part of a comedy club. Never thought I'd see my name alone on a marquee."

Most of the appeal of Kitty's book lies in the way she takes ordinary subjects and makes us relate to them.

"I love it if people relate to it," she said. "I say things the way I talk and if people relate it's wonderful. I also love that writing this book has given me a new world to enter. It's been very nice meeting people, going into book shops, signing books. I have loved it."

Bridge Burning & Oher Hobbies,

Kitty Flanagan

Allen & Unwin. $29.99. In bookshops now

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