Bob Flanagan (December 26, 1952 – January 4, 1996) was an American performance artist, comic, writer, poet, and musician.
He was born in New York City on Dec 26, 1952, and grew up in Glendale, California. At a young age he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a condition which would influence his art and ultimately claim his life. He studied literature at California State University, Long Beach and the University of California, Irvine. He moved to Los Angeles in 1976. In 1978, he published his first book, The Kid is the Man. He also worked with the improv comedy group The Groundlings.
On January 4, 1996, he died of cystic fibrosis, aged 43.
He was the subject of the documentary SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997) a film by Kirby Dick, which films the final years of Bob's life.
While some of his performances were notable for acts of extreme masochism (on at least one occasion he hammered a nail through his penis, while cracking jokes), he also wrote humorous songs, many of them intended as much for children as adults.
He briefly appeared (fully clothed and uninjured) in Michael Tolkin's The New Age as one of the alternate lifestylers encountered by Peter