Ryan in 2014
|Born||(1983-06-30) June 30, 1983
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
|Nationality||Canadian and Irish dual-national|
Katherine Ryan (born June 30, 1983) is a Canadian comedian, writer, presenter and actress, based in the United Kingdom. She has appeared on British panel shows including Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, A League of Their Own, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, QI, Just a Minute, Safeword, and Have I Got News for You. In 2015, she replaced Steve Jones as the presenter of Hair on BBC Two. As an actress, she has appeared in the Channel 4 sitcom Campus, BBC Two sitcom Episodes and Don’t Sit in the Front Row with Jack Dee.
As a stand-up comedian, Ryan has appeared on the BBC’s Live at the Apollo, both as a featured act and as a lead act. For her work, Ryan won the Nivea Funny Women Award, and was also runner-up in the Amused Moose Laugh-Off competition in 2008. In February 2017, Netflix released Katherine Ryan: In Trouble which features one of her live stand-up performances on a recent UK tour.
Ryan’s father is a draftsman, who owns an engineering company, who originally emigrated from Ireland to Canada, and her mother is a Canadian and owns an IT Consulting company. Ryan and her two younger sisters were born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario. The three siblings spent time in Cork, Ireland visiting their paternal grandparents.
Her parents split up when she was 15. When she was 18 years old, she decided to leave home and chose to study city planning at the University of Toronto. While attending university, she worked at Hooters and then began training other waitresses. She was fired from Hooters for writing on a board “club sandwiches not seals”. In her spare time she undertook open mic nights as an alternative form of personal entertainment and by graduation had developed a basic comedic routine.
After graduation, Ryan continued working for Hooters as a corporate trainer, travelling around Canada to train other waitresses, and helping to open the only UK branch in Nottingham. Her partner at the time wanted to explore London, so she agreed to do so for an initial month from summer 2007, moving there permanently from January 2008.
As a comedian
Ryan first appeared on television on Channel 4‘s 8 Out of 10 Cats in 2012. Soon after, she gained acting roles in Channel 4’s Campus. On 23 February 2013, she appeared as a celebrity contestant on BBC One’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief as Nicki Minaj dancing to “Starships“. Ryan reached the final, and finished in fourth place. Ryan was later featured on the Whitney Cummings Just for Laughs 2013 Gala that was taped before a live audience on 28 July 2013. She has since taken new routines to the Edinburgh Festival.
In 2015, Ryan replaced Steve Jones as the presenter of Hair on BBC Two. Also in 2015, Ryan became a panellist for Tinie Tempah‘s team on Sky 1‘s music/comedy panel show Bring the Noise and on the ITV2 show, Safeword. In 2016, Ryan appeared on series 2 of Taskmaster. She beat Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Richard Osman and Jon Richardson, to win the entire series.
In February 2017, Ryan was criticized after she made a joke on a BBC show suggesting that cosmetic testing is done on Filipino children instead of animals, saying “We don’t use any of our products on animals. We use Filipino children,” in a segment called “unlikely lines from a cosmetics commercial.” Many people who identify as Filipino called it “disgraceful” and “disgusting”, although some critics went too far hurling insults and slurs at Ryan. Ryan defended the joke. The BBC had come under fire before with racist humour toward Filipinos with a 2008 sketch involving a Filipina maid from comedian Harry Enfield
- Episodes (2012) – Merc’s Assistant
- Mock the Week (2012–15) – Guest
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2012–14) – Guest
- 8 Out of 10 Cats (2012–17) – Guest
- Sweat the Small Stuff (2013–14) – Guest
- Let’s Dance for Comic Relief (2013) – Contestant
- Fake Reaction (2013) – Guest
- QI (2013) – Guest
- Badults (2013) – Lucy (Series 2 main role)
- Have I Got News for You (2013–17) – Guest panelist and presenter
- Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (2014, 2017) – Guest
- Celebrity Squares (2014, 2015) – Guest
- The Dog Ate My Homework (2015) – Guest
- Room 101 (2015) – Guest
- 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (2015) – Guest
- Hair (2015) – Presenter
- Safeword (2015–present) – Team captain
- The Cube: Celebrity Special (2015) – Contestant
- The Last Leg (2015) – Guest
- Bring the Noise (2015) – Regular panellist
- Lip Sync Battle UK (2016) – Contestant
- Let’s Play Darts (2016) – Contestant
- Counterfeit Cat (2016) – Ranceford, Nelson (voice)
- Taskmaster (2016, 2017) – Contestant
- It’s Not Me, It’s You (2016) – Guest & guest team captain
- Sunday Brunch (2016) – Stand-in presenter
- Would I Lie to You? (2016) – Guest
- The Chase: Celebrity Special (2016) – Contestant
- The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (2017) – Guest panellist
- The Fake News Show (2017–present) – Team captain
- The Nightly Show (2017) – Guest performer
- How’d You Get So Rich? (2017) – Presenter
- Sunny D – Kerry
- Romesh: Talking to Comedians (2017) – Guest
- Your Face or Mine? (2017–present) – Co-presenter
- Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (2017) – Contestant