Image of Kitty Flanagan via MICF.
Kitty Flanagan is like an aunt who’s cool despite not being au fait with computers or what the young folks are into. With a big smile and a mischievous twinkle in her eye, she opened her Melbourne International Comedy Festival stand-up show with a faux embrace of the word ‘smash’, in the context of its new, very flexible usage, from smashing a coffee to smashing out some emails. Using it repeatedly, literally and inappropriately, Aunty Kitty soon put that word back in its place, then moved on to a whole lot of other witty observations about life.
Most notably her sex life – and she wasn’t afraid to embarrass herself a little in the process. With a few choice anecdotes about awkward moments, a silly fantasy about Matt Damon, and some simple visual gags, Flanagan got the audience giggling (in some cases guffawing) rather than squirming. She even found a comfortable space to throw in some sincere commentary about how the ubiquity of porn puts an unrealistic weight of expectation on young peoples’ shoulders.
From trying to outsmart algorithms that stalk her online, to some gentle stalking of an ex on facebook, Flanagan flitted from topic to topic, and from kooky anecdote to funny observation. If there was a thematic thread I didn’t catch it, but who cares when this charming comedian reveals her distaste for Cirque du Soleil with a madcap commentary/re-enactment, complete with comic but rather good singing?
This hour of light but very likeable comedy concluded with a quick song, supported by a couple of musicians, including Flanagan’s sister on guitar. We had been entertained, and those familiar with the old-fashioned meaning of ‘smashing’ probably departed thinking it applied to Kitty Flanagan.
Athenaeum Theatre until 19 April
Melbourne International Comedy Festival