Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Katherine Ryan considers the choice we make
'In the UK, you actually have a choice to put your tits away. And, well, maybe you should’
This article is from 2014.
Katherine Ryan has come a long way since making her Fringe debut in 2011. Having made a name for herself with 20-minute sets packed with song parodies and frank material about her own life and the celebrity landscape she viewed all around her, Ryan wondered how she would fill a full hour. She plumped for more tunes and even a guest appearance from her mum. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that critical opinion was divided.
‘Some of us maybe do our first Fringe hour too soon,’ recalls Ryan. ‘At that stage of my career I just didn’t have an hour, so I thought “I know what I’ll do, I’ll sing some crazy songs”. A lot of comedians really liked that show but no one else did: “you’re so brave!” No, I was just mental.’ Now though, the London-based Canadian comic is far more at ease with what is required for a successful Fringe, and her new show, Glam Role Model, will tackle some harder hitting themes, albeit on the same broad territory of fame and female identity.
‘Back home we didn’t have glamour models; we had porno magazines and then we had mainstream actresses and presenters. Here, that line is so blurred and glamour models are put in such positions where they are sold as personalities but their entire personality is just about getting naked or being drunk in the Big Brother house. I was a product of the society that said women are for decoration and I do think girls should be able to do whatever they want. Yet, across the world there are girls who just can’t; some can’t even go to school in Nigeria without being abducted. Here, you actually have a choice to put your tits away. And, well, maybe you should.’
The Stand V, 558 7272, 1–10 Aug, 6.45pm, £10 (£8). Preview 31 Jul, £6 (£5).