Every comedian starts their stand-up shows with a line like: “Hello (insert name of town or city). I really love (repeat name), you have the best audiences here.”
It’s a common trick to warm local crowds up and get them on the comedian’s side. But when the bright, bubbly Kitty Flanagan tells me “Perth is fantastic”, it’s no trick — and she can prove it.
“I’ve got a real affinity for Perth,” beams the frizzy-haired funny girl, who lives in her home town of Sydney but has also put down roots in Melbourne, London and ... Perth.
“I lived in Perth for quite a while in a few different places. I decided to get in a camper van and drive around Australia with a boyfriend and his dog. By the time we got to Adelaide he’d sent the dog home and by the time we got to Perth I’d sent him home. And why would I not stay there? It was sunny. There were beaches. It was great.
“I lived in Cottesloe and Scarborough. I worked at the Pizza Hut in Innaloo. And I lived in Bunbury, too. I know — jealous much? I was the first karaoke host in Bunbury. I was your hostess with the most-est. What would you like to sing tonight, sir?”
If that’s not proof enough of her nostalgia for the west, Flanagan is filming the DVD of her latest show, Hello Kitty Flanagan, at the Regal Theatre, where she had such a great time on her last visit.
Flanagan, who is best known as a regular on comedy shows such as Full Frontal, Good News Week, Micallef, Spicks and Specks and The Project (where she appears on Tuesday nights), also has her sister Penny on guitar for some musical comedy during her Perth season, which opened last night.
“Penny came on the last tour and we really enjoyed it. She’s a proper singer and plays guitar, so I made her sit down and write funny songs with me. I do comedy singing, which is another word for bad singing.”
Funny business aside, Flanagan admits she was inspired to step up her show after supporting US comedian Wayne Brady on his 2009 Australian tour.
“I remember watching him each night and being amazed. It was a real show. It was a bit of everything and I was never bored. I realised that I’ve been lucky to be touring places and playing in beautiful theatres like the Regal and I have to step my game up a bit. I can’t just step behind the mic and say ‘Err, I’ve got some funny stories for you’.
“I’ve got to make it worth people getting up off the couch and taking their Ugg boots off for.”
The new attitude and professional approach has paid off, with Hello Kitty Flanagan winning best comedy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival recently to go with nominations for the prestigious Barry and Helpmann awards.
“This is a show I like to call ‘my show’. There’s a bit of music, there’s a bit of movement, there’s funny stories and I even bring a sparkly curtain to make it that bit more special. So this is a show that steps it up a bit. I put my foot to the floor and go for it.”
Kitty Flanagan performs at the Regal Theatre until Saturday and the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on Sunday.