You have to be smart to be funny. A good sense of humour requires intelligence, quick thinking and a nimble brain. Katherine Ryan has these qualities in spades as demonstrated in her stand-up routines and clearly in her new book The Audacity, not to be confused with Barrack Obama’s similarly-titled book. Very different indeed!
I had never heard of Ryan until reviews of her newly-released book The Audacity started appearing in Canadian newspapers so I put it on my To Read list. While I waited for the book, I checked out her Netflix shows. The Duchess and Glitter which include her one-hour standup routine and a “dramadey” series loosely based on her life
Katherine Ryan’s brand of humour is much like Amy Schumer but not quite as raunchy, which means it may not be to everyone’s taste. Born in Sarnia, Ontario, Ryan grew up in a typical small-town Ontario family. Her Irish father and Canadian mother produced three daughters, Katherine being the eldest and by her own account, the weirdest. It’s a credit to her intelligence and ingenuity that she leveraged her so-called weirdness into a career that has rewarded her well. But it did not happen overnight.
Like many small-towners, Ryan couldn’t wait to leave home and experience the greater wide world beyond her southern Ontario border town. After high school and while attending Ryerson University in Toronto she spread her metaphorical wings. Going to school in downtown Toronto afforded her the opportunity to taste all the delights of city life she’d been craving. Perfectly matched with a university roommate also called Katherine, they called themselves K-Squared. Together, they set about auditioning and being selected to be dancers on CITY-TV’s Electric Circus. Those years of musical theatre at school were paying off.
After getting lost one cold winter day, she stepped into a downtown Hooters restaurant to warm up and get directions. Instead, she got a job. Waitressing at Hooters proved to be lucrative employment during her university years and bankrolled various undertakings, including stand-up comedy. Ryan’s story includes the usual assortment of poor choices in boyfriends and questionable beauty treatments tried by young women new to the big city.
One boyfriend, however, induced her to move to England with him and that’s when her life really began to take shape. Not only did she acquire a new home but she had a daughter, Violet, who naturally became the light of her life and her compass. Her old boyfriend was eventually kicked to the curb. Being a young mother unable to work in a foreign country, she fine-tuned her mothering skills and even gives advice on how to completely potty-train your baby by ten months. That level of common sense thoroughly impressed me even though I’m not currently in the market for potty-training tips. Maybe in a few years when I’m in the ‘home’.
Ryan also has a deep affection for small dogs and, like me, her canine collection includes a Yorkie. Her description of adopting her first dog and growing her family of petite chiens is a great story and one I could relate to. She also shares her advice-from-experience on how to get plastic surgery and other everyday lifestyle tips. When she acquired the necessary documentation to work and access to National Health benefits in England, she set about putting her life in order.
As her career took off, so did her personal life but I’ll save that bit for you to read for yourself. Ryan’s story is one of a misfit, small-town girl who threw herself into every kind of adventure she was confronted with and through her intelligence, ambition and hard work, she has become a prominent name in the comedy world, someone who rubs shoulders with celebrities, who travels internationally, and is a regular on television and the stage.
I absolutely loved The Audacity. Katherine Ryan is articulate, funny, and a brilliant writer. I thoroughly enjoyed her Netflix specials and her series. Acquaint yourself with her work by reading her book and watching her Netflix shows.
Now in her late thirties, she’s peaking and I hope she continues this ascent for many more years. She’s an inspiration for young women who choose to take their ‘weirdness’ and have the audacity to run with it. You go, girl!
If you are unable to obtain The Audacity by Katherine Ryan at your local bookstore or library, click here or on the links above to order from Amazon.
While you’re on Amazon, order a copy of my own book We’re Not Dead Yet by Lynda Davis. Click here to order.
(Disclosure: I may receive a teeny, tiny commission. Thank you.)