I thought I would have a normal life. Instead I have a glitter room
Canada’s Katherine Ryan has made herself at home in Britain. Marion McMullen catches up with the comedian ahead of her sparkling new tour
You were Britain and Canada’s first woman to have a worldwide Netflix special, recently co- hosted Your Face Or Mine with Jimmy Carr on Comedy Central, have a new UK tour and are a single mum. How do you juggle everything?
WHAT I don’t have is a social life, so friends will say ‘ let’s go and do this or that or have a weekend away.’
But if I’m not working, the key is to spend as much time as possible with my eight- year- old daughter Violet and just be home doing absolutely nothing.
What can you tell us about your new UK comedy tour Glitter Room?
IT’S about this little thing that Violet said which encapsulates how charmed my life is now.
I bought a flat, which is quiet and peaceful and clean and floral and we have these tiny little dogs – everything is a warning for a man to stay away.
The other day Violet said [ adopts well- spoken English accent] ‘ Mummy, if you need me I’ll be watching Mean Girls in the glitter room.’
I have this life that I never pictured for myself. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Canada and thought I would have a normal family life... instead I have a glitter room.
Your Netflix special Katherine Ryan: In Trouble went out to 190 countries earlier this year. How personal is Glitter Room or is it more universal?
WHENEVER you try to broaden your audience with something like a Netflix special, you have to talk about themes that are relatable to others. So this show is a lot more universal, about my life as a single mum and as a woman in this century who is questioning what kind of life I need to have.
You have become famous for no- nonsense take- downs of the likes of Cheryl Cole and Peter Andre. Have you ever had any reaction back from celebrities you’ve made a joke about?
I DO love a comedy roast. It’s a language that people in comedy can understand but some of my old stuff was heard by the celebrities that I was talking about and, you know, I don’t want to hurt anyone. It turns out I do actually have a conscience!
Comedians can be provocative but I know that they don’t want to hurt people, they’re just trying to make things lighter and funnier.
I will still talk about the Kardashians, but in a less negative way. Maybe I’m just getting wiser.
What was it like when you first started in comedy?
WHEN I started open mic- ing, I worked at the Hooters next door to the comedy club.
I didn’t want to be a comedian at that time but I just thought stand- up would be fun, like a little exercise. So after my shift ended sometimes I would go next door to the comedy club – still in the uniform but with a hoodie – and get on stage for just five minutes. I was awful.
Did you take any life lessons away from meeting some stupendously wealthy people while you were making Channel 4’ s How’d You Get Rich?
WHEN you look across your block of flats to these mansions and you think ‘ oh gosh they must be special and smart,’ but the thing is, they’re not special. They have a very strong work ethic and they take risks but they aren’t that different to you or to me.
You’ve done a lot of TV from QI, Have I Got News For You and 8 Out Of 10 Cats. You also won Taskmaster on the Dave channel. Are you putting some of your TV work on hold when you are on tour?
I DO a lot because I’m a very gamey person, so as soon as anyone offers me something ridiculous like ‘ do you want to dance on this special charity show?’ I’ll say yes.
It’s not because I say yes to everything, just that I love to do different things.
I’m excited to be touring again. People ask me if TV or touring is more important and I just think that you can’t have one without the other.
Katherine Ryan is at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on November 10, and Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on on February 2
Katherine Ryan loves a good comedy roast