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Katherine Ryan hits out at sexism in comedy as she plans return to stand-up

Katherine Ryan has spoken about her plans to get back to her stand-up roots (Getty)
Katherine Ryan has spoken about her plans to get back to her stand-up roots (Getty)

Katherine Ryan says she is itching to go on tour again next year, but that the realities of motherhood have been holding her back.

The Canadian comedian, 40, shares son Fred, two, and daughter Fenna, who turns one next month, with her husband Bobby Kootstra. She also has 14-year-old Violet from a previous relationship.

Ryan unveiled her second pregnancy to the world when she stepped on stage at 38 weeks pregnant, and says she was back on tour "pretty much" after Fred was born. Towards the end of the tour, she fell pregnant again and decided a break was in order.

"It was ridiculous at times," she admitted to The Standard, while speaking in partnership with streaming service NOW."I really thought it would be fine. I sort of thought I would be the dad, but I’m definitely not, I’m definitely the mum and I would bring the baby on tour, [Fred] was in the dressing rooms. He wasn’t an easy baby, he didn’t like it – the tour life is not for Fred!

Katherine Ryan pictured with her three children (Instagram)
Katherine Ryan pictured with her three children (Instagram)

"I don’t think male comedians are being handed a screaming infant while they walk off stage and then they are up all night with a screaming infant.

"It was too much, I think that’s what stopped me from doing a tour when Fenna was born."

Adding: "I just thought with two under two I can’t do it again."

"I would love to do another tour," she continued. "I’m going to take a little bit of time now to do the stand-up circuit again, kind of start from the beginning and do clubs and pubs and open mic nights.

"I’m almost finished breast feeding, I feel like I just love stand up but I feel grateful that people come to see me on purpose but I don’t want to do another tour until I’ve got a really good new show and get a babysitter."

Away from the stage, Ryan, who has been a regular on panel shows such as 8 out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, is also known for her Netflix shows The Duchess and The Glitter Room.

Her next TV venture is called Parental Guidance. It will see her exploring "out of the box parenting" and "going around the country meeting different families who do things a little unconventionally". And, in a first, her whole family will feature, including her mother.

Katherine Ryan has teamed up with streaming service NOW for a new Christmas campaign to give away limited-edition Box Set Baubles inspired by iconic TV shows (NOW)
Katherine Ryan has teamed up with streaming service NOW for a new Christmas campaign to give away limited-edition Box Set Baubles inspired by iconic TV shows (NOW)

"That was really fun," she enthused. "My family does things unconventionally so you get a lot of access to us and you get to see just really what it’s like inside our home, what my husband’s like, my teenager and the babies – it’s a lovely time capsule though for us really because it goes by so fast and we have like three solid months of filming these kids.

"Just all of the different stuff that I do like I early potty train them, I’m an attachment parent, I carry them around a lot, I co-sleep with them, all this stuff that in hindsight felt like the right thingto do, but maybe I wouldn’t recommend if you want to have a restful happy life."

One of the episodes also sees them visit a nudist camp in Kent.

"I met a nudist – well, they call themselves naturists, family, who love to be naked and they feel like it fosters really healthy body image and I’m interested about body image for my own kids and things that might make my family more confident so I thought why not, let’s go to the naturistcamp in Kent," she explained.

"It was a really lovely place, I went there and watched 200 naked men do a 5k race, it was cool! There are a lot of eye-opening experiences on the show."

Katherine Ryan showing off the limited edition NOW TV-inspired Christmas baubles (NOW)
Katherine Ryan showing off the limited edition NOW TV-inspired Christmas baubles (NOW)

That's due to air next year, before then, she has teamed up with NOW for a new Christmas campaign to give away limited-edition Box Set Baubles inspired by iconic TV shows including Succession, The White Lotus, House of the Dragon, And Just Like That, The Last of Us and True Detective: Night Country, to help Brits inject even more of their passions and interests into their Christmas tree this festive period.

Reflecting on her own festive traditions, she said: "In Canada it’s cold for a really long time and we aren’t as strict about getting the tree up and down on a schedule like they are in Britain and I just feel like you should stretch out the festive season as much as you can.

"I sort of go for one theme [on my Christmas tree] and I have a lot of matching baubles and then I accent it – I have a gherkin, I have one from a Canadian coffee shop. I think a lot of people really love to look at the tree and see elements of their personalities.

Last year was the first Christmas that I really had to make sure that all of the ornaments were above a certain level because I knew, Fred's like a little kitten and he would grab them and crash the whole thing down so I think we’ll have to do that again this year. Until the kids are older I’m decorating from the waist up!"

The NOW Box Set Baubles are available on a first come, first serve basis here.