Comedian Katherine Ryan recently released her debut Netflix Original stand-up special called, “In Trouble.” At the end of her sell-out tour across the UK, the actress/comedian packed in a crowd at the Apollo Theatre in London, to deliver the audience some straightforward funny business. As the second UK-based act to get a global special streaming in 190 countries, Ryan is breaking ground as a female leader in the comedy world.
AXS got to speak with the rising star about her new Netflix special and more.
AXS: When did you first fall in love with comedy?
Katherine Ryan: I think that if you look back on your life it’s amazing how many little echoes of your future are in your past. When I was a little girl, I would love to stay up late on a Friday night and watch chat shows like ‘David Letterman’ and ‘Johnny Carson,’ with my mom. I just thought it was really cool. From there, I got to love Bette Midler and Joan Rivers. ‘The Golden Girls’ was actually my favorite show, even when I was a little kid. My sisters and I would play where each of us was one of the characters. We would play ‘Golden Girls’ for an entire day. I was Dorothy. I think I valued comedy before I knew what comedy was. I always loved it but it wasn’t until I went to a University that I discovered comics like Sarah Silverman and I thought, oh my gosh, there are women that I identify with who do this. I would watch more and more women doing comedy and think, this is a real thing. It actually wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I even considered doing stand-up.
AXS: So, talk to me a little bit about your journey so far?
KR: In America, I know that I’ve come out of nowhere but in the UK, I’ve been doing comedy over there for 10 years. I did my first television appearance over there in 2012. It was on a chat show hosted by Jimmy Carr. They just gave me a chance. I was with comics like Hannibal Buress and Jon Richardson and Sean Lock. I was so intimated by these men. I thought, I can’t compete with them, everybody knows them, and they’ve been doing comedy for 20 years. I knew then, I could only do me. Because I think having an authentic voice in this industry is so important. I went out there and talked about the things that were in my periphery. For some reason it worked. Everybody received it really well. If I had to pinpoint a time in my career when my life changed, it would be that night.
AXS: Tell me about your first Netflix comedy special, ‘In Trouble’?
KR: It’s crazy that we got a Netflix special because that show was just another show. I had been touring throughout the UK and I didn’t imagine in a million years that Netflix would be interested in it. So, when they made me the first female British comic, the first Canadian comic to have a worldwide special, it was super surreal. It was nice because it was the first time I was scared in a long time. I think it’s really important to feel uncomfortable and to be pushed out of your comfort zone. I think comedy is a conversation. Where I stand, if there’s one little girl like me, who identifies with what I do, or wants to have a voice someday, or have a platform, then I think it’s really cool. It’s all just been totally out of this world. Netflix is the future. It’s amazing to have this unedited platform to say what you want to say.
AXS: What’s next for you?
KR: A lot in Britain. I have a new show coming out on Channel 4, called, ‘How’d You Get So Rich?’ Joan Rivers used to present that. I love her. She was just a total trailblazer; an amazing philanthropist. She hosted the show in America where she’d interview millionaires and billionaires and try to charm and disarm them as a comedian into revealing a lot about themselves. And, I present that now in Britain, on Channel 4. Then I have another show with Jimmy Carr, who also has a Netflix special. And that’s for Comedy Central. That’s called, ‘Your Face or Mine?’ Those two things are coming out. In the meantime, I’m trying to write a new special. And I don’t want that to go anywhere but Netflix.
We asked Katherine perhaps if she would be touring America anytime soon. She replied, “I think America is a beautiful country and I want to see all of it. So to tour, would be like the dream. Because you know, EVERYBODY wants to make America great again.”
Make sure you check out Katherine Ryan’s comedy special, “In Trouble,” only on Netflix.