Aisling Bea

Aisling Cliodhnadh O'Sullivan (/ˈæʃlɪŋ/; born 16 March 1984), better known as Aisling Bea, is an Irish actress, writer, and comedian.

Aisling Bea
Bea performing in August 2014
Aisling Cliodhnadh O'Sullivan

(1984-03-16) 16 March 1984
OccupationActress, writer, comedian
Years active2009–present

After appearing in bit parts in several Irish and British television series from 2009, Bea began her career as a stand-up comedian in 2011. By 2012, she was regularly appearing on sketch comedy shows and sitcoms. After winning an award at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, she began to be booked regularly for various panel shows, where she has become a fixture. From 2016 to 2017, she was a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats, and is a frequent contestant on the spinoff 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

In 2018, Bea co-starred with Amy Huberman on her Irish television series Finding Joy. Since 2019, she has starred on the Netflix comedy drama series Living with Yourself and the Channel 4 comedy series This Way Up, on which she is also head writer.

Early life

Aisling Cliodhnadh O'Sullivan[1] was born in County Kildare[2][3][4] on 16 March 1984.[5] Her father, Brian, was an equine vet who took his own life when Bea was three years old, though she was not told how he died until she was 13.[6] She adopted the stage name "Bea" as a tribute to her father,[7][8][9] and wrote an article for The Guardian in 2017 about her family's experience of suicide.[10] Bea and her younger sister, Sinéad,[8] were raised by their mother, Helen (née Moloney), a secondary school teacher, jockey trainer,[11] and former professional jockey.[12][13] Her family were "obsessed" with horses and race meetings. In her youth, Bea worked as a tour guide at the Irish National Stud.[6] However, she knew from a young age that she was not interested in the racing industry "as a career" and instead enjoyed performing.[6]

Bea's grandfather was the Irish language novelist and poet Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, while her great-aunt was the playwright Siobhán Ní Shúilleabháin.[14] Musician Liam O'Flynn was a family friend.[15] She was educated at a Catholic convent school[16] and then studied French and philosophy at Trinity College Dublin.[4][16][17] While there she was part of a student sketch comedy group.[18] She then studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[19]


After drama school, Bea spent two years trying to get work in theatre as a dramatic actress.[20] Instead, she was cast mainly in comedic television series including Cardinal Burns and Dead Boss (both 2012).[21] While filming Dead Boss in 2011, Bea decided to try stand-up comedy.[16][22] In 2012, she won the Gilded Balloon So You Think You're Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe[23] and, in 2013, was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for her show C'est La Bea.[24]

The exposure brought by these awards marked a "turning point" in Bea's career[19] and she began to appear as a regular guest on panel shows including QI and Insert Name Here.[25] Bea and Yasmine Akram co-wrote and co-hosted the BBC Radio 4 comedy folklore series Micks and Legends (2012, 2015);[26] it was nominated for a Chortle Award in 2013.[27] Bea won the 2014 British Comedy Award for Best Female TV Comic[28] and returned to Edinburgh in 2015 with the live show Plan Bea.[29] In 2016, she became a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats and was a cast member on Taskmaster in 2017.

Bea has continued to act in television sitcoms including Trollied (2014–2015) and The Delivery Man (2015), and the crime dramas The Fall (2016) and Hard Sun (2018). In 2018, she and Sara Pascoe began to co-host the BBC Radio 2 comedy chat show What's Normal?[30] She recorded a 15-minute stand-up special that was aired on Netflix in late 2018.

In August 2018, Bea was cast to co-star with Paul Rudd in Netflix's comedy series Living with Yourself.[31][32] The series premiered on 18 October 2019.[33]

In 2019, Bea wrote This Way Up, in which she starred as teacher Aine. It was produced by Sharon Horgan, who plays her older sister.[34] The series premiered on Channel 4 on 8 August 2019.


Bea was a vocal supporter of the Repeal the 8th campaign in the successful 2018 Irish referendum to introduce legal abortion in the Republic of Ireland,[19][35] including her contribution of an essay to Una Mullally's Repeal the 8th a month before the vote.[36] She previously campaigned for same-sex marriage legislation in the successful 2015 Irish referendum.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
2009 Fair City Cliodhna Norris 3 episodes
2009 We Are Klang Inspector 1 episode
2009 The Roy Files Ticket girl 1 episode (Truth And Lies)

Voice only

2009 Belonging to Laura Leanne Thompson TV3 television movie
2010 Inn Mates Elf Pilot
2009-2014 The Savage Eye Various 4 episodes
2010 L.O.L Various Pilot

(also writer)

2010 Freedom Aisling Pilot
2010 Come Fly with Me Mary O'Mara 1 episode
2011 Lewis Hotel receptionist 1 episode
2011 Holby City Amelia Warner 1 episode
2012 Cardinal Burns Sally 5 episodes
2012 Dead Boss Laura Stephens 6 episodes
2012 In with the Flynns Naimah 1 episode
2012 The Town Carly 3 episodes
2012 Trivia Ruth 6 episodes
2012 Assassin's Creed III Emily Burke Voice only

Video game

2013 Fit Various
2013 Soul Sacrifice Similia Voice only

Video game

2013 Quick Cuts Customer 1 episode
2013 Tattooed Eve Short
2013 Very Few Fish Gráinne Short
2014 Playhouse Presents Toddler Woman 1 episode
2014 The Architects Hayley BBC Radio 4 sitcom

4 episodes

2014 The Assets Kara Jensen 1 episode
2014 Vodka Diaries Nic Pilot
2014 The Sunny Emma Pilot
2014-2015 Trollied Charlie 13 episodes
2015 Funny Valentines Sarah Short

2 episodes

2015 The Delivery Man Lisa 6 episodes
2015 The Trap Marie Feature film
2015 Nish Kumar's Christmas Agent Short
2016 Bullet to the Heart Jane Short

(also writer)

2016 Damned Anne-Marie 1 episode
2016 The Fall Kiera Sheridan 4 episodes
2017 Drunk History Guinevere 1 episode
2017 Gap Year Kendra 2 episodes
2018 Hard Sun Mari Butler 5 episodes
2018 Plebs Minerva 1 episode
2018 I Feel Bad Simone 1 episode
2018 Finding Joy Amelia 6 episodes
2019 This Way Up Aine 6 episodes
2019 Living with Yourself Kate Elliot 8 episodes

Stand-up comedy

Year Title Channel Venue
2009 Sabotage BBC Radio 4 Extra Live at Hoxton Hall
2009 Fresh From the Fringe BBC Radio 4 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
2013 Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy Spectacular BBC Three Edinburgh Festival Fringe
2013 Russell Howard's Good News BBC Three
2013 Set List Nerdist Channel
2014 Live at the Apollo BBC One Hammersmith Apollo
2014-2016 Channel 4's Comedy Gala Channel 4 O2 Arena
2018 Netflix Comedy Lineup Netflix

Panel show appearances

Since 2016, Bea is a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats. She has made guest appearances on many other panel shows, including:


  1. "Life's on the up for Aisling Bea ahead of new TV comedy". Irish Examiner. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  2. "10 awesome Kildare women making waves in the world". Leinster Leader. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  3. "Five Essentials: Actor". Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  4. "Aisling Bea Official Site". Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  5. "100 funny jokes by 100 comedians". The Daily Telegraph. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  6. "In another life: Aisling Bea". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  7. "My father's death has given me a love of men, of their vulnerability and tenderness". The Guardian. 4 November 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  8. Jones, Alice (12 August 2015). "Aisling Bea interview: The prize-winning comedian with the CV of a veteran on bringing her second stand-up show to the Fringe". The Independent. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  9. Fitzpatrick, Richard (18 July 2014). "Funny woman, Aisling Bea, is of good stock". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  10. "Aisling Bea: 'My father's death has given me a love of men, of their vulnerability and tenderness'". the Guardian. 4 November 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. "Aisling Bea". Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018.
  12. Fitzpatrick, Richard (18 July 2014). "Funny woman, Aisling Bea, is of good stock". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  13. "Insider Interrogation: writer and actor Aisling Bea -". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  14. "From horses to hilarity". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  15. @WeeMissBea (15 March 2018). "Aisling Bea" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  16. "Prize-winning comedian Aisling Bea on making the leap into stand-up". The Independent. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  17. Jarlath Regan (19 September 2015). "Aisling Bea". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (105 ed.). SoundCloud. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  18. "Interviews - Development & Alumni". Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  19. Parkinson, Hannah Jane (18 September 2016). "Aisling Bea: 'I am making no money in LA, but creatively it is rewarding'". the Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  20. "Interview with Aisling Bea (Humour Me Comedy Podcast)". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  21. Jones, Alice (12 August 2015). "Prize-winning comedian Aisling Bea on making the leap into stand-up". The Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  22. "Biography.... WHO IS THIS BROAD?". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  23. "Aisling Bea wins So You Think You're Funny". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  24. Duffy, Claire. "Aisling Bea is nominated for Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer Award". Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  25. "Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Aisling Bea". Beyond The Joke. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  26. "Comedy Irish Micks and Legends back on BBC Radio 4". 21 January 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  27. "Irish Micks And Legends". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  28. "Aisling crowned Queen Bea at British Comedy Awards". 17 December 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  29. "Aisling Bea: Edinburgh festival review – peppy set from standup with star quality". The Guardian. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  30. Guide, British Comedy (11 April 2018). "Sara Pascoe and Aisling Bea pilot Radio 2 chat show". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  31. Petski, Denise (10 August 2018). "Paul Rudd To Topline Netflix Comedy Series 'Living With Yourself' From Timothy Greenberg". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  32. Tartaglione, Nancy (28 August 2018). "Aisling Bea Joins Netflix's 'Living With Yourself' Opposite Paul Rudd". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  33. Nelson, Samantha (18 October 2019). "Netflix's Living With Yourself fuses sitcom humor with high-tech anxiety". The Verge. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  34. "Could Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan's new Channel 4 comedy be the next Fleabag?".
  35. "Standup for Choice - Repeal Eight". Repeal Eight. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  36. "Autonomy edited by Kathy D'Arcy, Repeal the 8th edited by Una Mullally review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
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