Kelly began her dream of a showbiz life watching her dad take the stage everywhere from college campuses to Carnegie Hall, and watching her heroes Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett on TV. As a teen she began working in TV production for her mother and father on various shows for HBO (read - production assistant who does all the Xeroxing).
In her early 20s, she got the acting bug when she got to play a punk rock Girl Scout in an HBO pilot Apt-2C opposite her father. She never fully pursued this bug, and instead, at the not-so-ripe age of 30, she graduated from UCLA, Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications Studies (no she was not stupid, it’s just that she had a few panic attacks, a crazy first husband, and what felt like the weight of the world on her shoulders for a few years). While at UCLA, Kelly discovered her voice as a writer, which lead her to a brief career in writing for film and TV with her writing partner and husband Robert McCall where they penned the Rose McGowan b-movie thriller “Devil in the Flesh,” and an episode of Fox’s The George Carlin Show.
In the late 1990s, after she was pretty sure that mainstream showbiz was not her cup of tea, she pursued her craft through various media such as writing/producing/hosting “Lost in LA LA Land” on the earliest online comedy channel Comedynet, and writing/performing her one-woman show “Driven To Distraction” about her tumultuous childhood and her mother's recent death.
In 2001 after two decades in “the biz”, Kelly stepped away to pursue her love of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and mythology and received her masters in Jungian Depth Psychology. She thought she might become a therapist, but then after a few years away from writing and performing, her desire to be on a stage and yell the word “fuck” kept gnawing at her, and so she decided to follow the call of the stage once again. She began writing and performing stories in the Los Angeles area.
Recently she interviewed a few legendary comedians for Laugh.com's On Comedy CD series, and had a blast talent producing for Showtime Network’s The Green Room with Paul Provenza.
Kelly is currently hosting her monthly SiriusXM radio show The Kelly Carlin Show which spotlights her conversations with iconic comedians. Kelly also hosts her weekly podcast “Waking from the American Dream” at smodcast.com where she converses with comedians, authors, visionaries and artists about the comedy and tragedy of life.
In July of this year she will film her acclaimed solo show "A Carlin Home Companion" to be released as a DVD, and in September, her highly anticipated memoir of the same title will be publishe by St. Martin's Press.