Katherine Ryan: ‘Male comedians aren’t handed screaming infants after a gig’ | Theatre | Entertainment

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Katherine Ryan cannot abide by tinsel.

“Absolutely not,” she half-yelled over Zoom. “As someone who used to have cats, I feel like tinsel is an accident waiting to happen. It is an invitation to a cat to pounce on the tree with disastrous results – glass shattering all over the front room.”

Katherine – the Canadian comedian who has taken Britain by storm over the past decade – was exclusively debating Christmas decorations with Express.co.uk after teaming up with NOW on their new Box Set Bauble campaign. The streaming service just launched a new website where TV fans can enter a competition to win limited edition Box Set Baubles modelled after the streaming network’s biggest and best shows (including Succession, White Lotus, The Last Of Us, etc).

Katherine confessed she’s keen to “set her tree apart and reflect her love for all things quirky and fun” in the process. “I love NOW’s new initiative,” she gushed. “Encouraging people to participate in this competition to win some beautiful ornaments from their favourite shows.” With a smile, she added: “My favourite is the White Lotus one!”

While she explained she would love to binge White Lotus again this Christmas, things are a little different for her this year. Last December she gave birth to her third child, Fenna, so her festive break will no doubt be a little more chaotic than usual.

With that said, Katherine already has a plan for her Christmas Day. 

“You might start off with Elf,” she said. “The Holiday… you might go Polar Express. Even Love Actually around lunchtime.”

Once Christmas is over, though, Katherine is keen to get back on stage with a brand new stand-up routine in 2024. “I would love to [go back on tour],” she admitted. “I feel like I haven’t had much of a life recently. I’ve been looking after these kids. I toured when [my second child] Fred was born. And then we had two [kids] under two [years old] and all of a sudden I was like a prisoner in my own home!” 

“I would like to tour again,” she repeated. “Sort of late 2024, early 2025.” However eager she is, though, she has to get rid of the cobwebs, so to speak. “They’re looking to put those dates in now, but I’m sort of holding them off,” Katherine went on. “Because I feel like I want to get out on the circuit and do like open mics again and work out material the good old fashioned way.”

Despite being a stalwart in the comedy scene around Great Britain, she does not feel as if she can rest on her laurels and just wander onto a stage and deliver a few jokes – no; she needs to get it right. And it will likely be harder for her now because she’s a woman.

She said: “I feel like there is certainly a difference between male and female comedians; I don’t know any of my counterparts who are living the same life.”

The 40-year-old comic has no doubt seen these nuances in real time; having worked with plenty of male comics over the years – including her good friend Romesh Ranganathan. “Romesh is not handed a screaming infant as soon as he walks off stage,” she pointed out. Despite this, she has a plan on how to tackle her upcoming tour life. “I think I’ve always been very sensible,” Katherine continued. “I’ve always driven home. I don’t stay out. I don’t stay in hotels. And I think it’ll just be that – it’ll be me doing more of the same, but doing it older and not recovering as well from the lack of sleep. 

“But if I’m in Leeds, I drive home and I wake up in London, 5am, with the kids and I feel like, you know, I’ve always done this job as a mother. So yes, more of the same.”

On top of the logistical change in her touring schedule, Katherine admits she’ll have to change up how her comedy material is delivered in her coming shows.

“I’ve kind of got to look at a rebrand,” she said. “I used to talk all about, you know, you don’t have to fit into the traditional shape of a family, and I was single, and I was in my 30s… and now I’m married to a man – on purpose! – and I just have to look at how that’s funny. How I can connect with people in a totally different perspective that I have now.”

But, crucially, she insisted: “I don’t want to go on tour with half a show and disappoint. So I need to just get these babies a little bit bigger and then do it all again.”

Enter NOW’s competition to win the limited-edition Box Set Baubles by visiting boxsetbaubles.nowtv.com. Applications close Monday, December 11, 2023, and winners will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.

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