If you’re looking for a list of Kate Flannery’s accomplishments, her Twitter bio does a pretty good job: “actor, writer, former TV drunk, half of the comedy duo The Lampshades and sometimes Jane Lynch’s sidekick on stage.” And we’re proud to say it all started here. After college, Flannery moved to Chicago to stay with her aunt (who was a docent at the Museum of Contemporary Art at the time), and became a member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theater and Second City’s National Touring Company, before landing her role as Meredith Palmer on “The Office.” On Wednesday, the actress returns to town to host the IES Study Abroad Film Festival at the MCA (220 E. Chicago).
Before her visit, the funny gal answered our rapid-fire questions.
If I weren’t an actress/comedian, I’d be: A bar owner or a nurse. Both give attention and something to make you feel better. My dad owned an Irish Pub in Philadelphia called Flannery’s Tavern; it’s genetic.
If I could live in a foreign country, it would be: Ireland. Not just because I’m Irish. The humor, the people, the pubs and the poets. The writers are very special. The land is beautiful. I’ve had a few short and lovely trips. Truly a magical place.
The one thing I’ve stolen from the set of “The Office” is: Meredith’s plaster cast.
My favorite prank Jim pulls on Dwight is: Asian Jim.
Last thing I binge-watched: “This is Us” — I cried like a baby.
One thing I’m exceptionally good at: Singing. I sing in my comedy lounge act, the Lampshades, and I get to sing with Jane Lynch in her live show and am featured on her Christmas album, “Swingin’ Little Christmas Time.”
One thing I’m exceptionally bad at: Math — thank God for the calculator app on my phone.
Superhero power I’d want to have: Flying. I hate traffic.
Best career advice I’ve ever gotten: Don’t worry about the jobs you don’t get. They just free you up for the jobs you will get. Showing up is the most important part of success. Working a second job is not a punishment; it doesn’t mean you are not doing well.
Moment I felt I made it: My first time on “The Tonight Show.” So surreal.
Easiest career decision I’ve ever made: Accepting my aunt Anne’s invitation to go to Chicago, stay with her and study at Second City.
Change I’d like to see in my industry: Women in comedy still don’t have half the opportunities men have. There are fewer jobs. Women’s looks are judged much more intensely than men.
I never leave my house without: A dress in the trunk of my car. LA is so spread out and I sometimes get a last-minute audition or an invitation and if I had to go home and change I would never make it.
The best thing about Chicago is: The people, aka the audiences. Whatever you want to do here as an artist, there is an audience. There is a lot of support here. It’s amazing — even better than NYC and LA. Great people with great spirit.
For tickets to the festival ($20), visit Iesabroad.org.
Get the best food, fashion and philanthropic events on your radar with our weekly Splash Calendar newsletter!