Katherine Ryan: ‘If I don’t have a boyfriend until I’m 75, that’ll be fine’
Think becoming a stand-up comedian is tough? Try doing it as a single mother. Katherine Ryan talks to Marie Claire about her journey from Hooters waitress to top comic, her brand-new tour and why married friends can be a financial drain
In the early days of her comedy career, someone told Katherine Ryan she should stop telling jokes about celebrity culture and dress a little less glamorously. If you’ve watched Ryan in action, most recently in her Netflix specialKatherine Ryan: In Trouble, you’ll know she ignored this advice completely.
‘I love fashion, beauty and celebrity. The more people told me not to do these things, the more I knew there was a place for them. I think it’s really tribal to talk about celebrity stuff. It’s what women used to do in tribes, they would share information – “Those cherries are poison and, by the way, did you hear about Jane over there?”’
I’ve come to interview Ryan in her north London home and we’re sitting in the kitchen with her very own tribe: seven-year-old daughter Violet, who is busy Googling ways to save an ailing orchid that sits on the kitchen table, and three tiny dogs, Megan (a teacup Shih Tzu), Manny (a teacup Yorkie) and Dolly (a Tibetan Spaniel).
London has been Ryan’s home since she and Violet’s father moved here from her native Canada nine years ago. The pair split amicably when Violet was a baby, and after working in a small string of office-based roles, Ryan decided to make the stand-up comedy that she’d first started doing back in Toronto a full-time job.
Although she seems a resolutely glass-half-full type of person, the early days of gigging sound hard, rocking Violet to sleep in the green room before going out on stage, and carrying her home on the Tube afterwards (‘Yep, my arms got pretty buff,’ she says).
But the slog has more than paid off. Ryan is now the only comedian in the UK besides Jimmy Carr to have her own Netflix special, she’s an in-demand TV host (most recently withThe Fake News ShowandHow’d You Get So Rich?), as well as a brilliantly droll panel-show regular on programmes likeMock The Weekand8 Out Of 10 Cats.
Video: Katherine Ryan Live at the Apollo
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