Katherine Ryan: Fish out of water
SHE may be through to the final of Let's Dance For Comic Relief, but rising star Katherine Ryan says she doesn't mind who comes out top – for her, it's all about the taking part.
"It's true – I don't mind really if I win or lose," states the comedian, without hesitation.
"I enjoy dancing and want to do it. A lot of what I do parodies celebrities and popular culture, so it's just fun for me."
Aided by her comically enhanced boobs and booty, her cheeky beach routine to Nicki Minaj's Starships beat the cast of Waterloo Road's Spice Girls to join Corrie's Anthony Cotton, who tap danced his way through showtune Step In Time, in the grand final on Saturday, March 9.
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Asked if she has any thoughts on who might win or her ranking, she stands firm: "But it's not about us, it's for charity and it's such an iconic show.
"I don't care who wins as long as people vote!"
One thing she will say is that finding the time to practice has been, and will be, tricky.
"I'm on tour and have been in Ireland, but I will get some time to rehearse ... I hope."
The tour in question is her own – 40 dates across the UK – and follows a successful stint opening for fellow Canadian Stewart Francis and an increasing number of high profile TV appearances, from Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, to Dave's One Night Stand and John Bishop's Only Joking.
"It's called Nature's Candy," she says of the one-woman show, which takes her own personal experience as a starting point.
"My way of approaching life and jokes is to be honest. You can have a serious issue, but take a light-hearted look. So it's a bit about being a new mum, being in a foreign country, being divorced in my 20s, being alone here ... which all sounds horrible, but I've had the best years.
"It has been hard being so far away from my family..." she reflects, "...having a daughter, who is three now, and starting out on my career. It has been difficult at times, but really really great too, so my show is really about finding the positive."
As she's already mentioned, Katherine also enjoys parodying celebs, which could, one wonders, become a little tricky as given her own increasing celebrity status.
"I don't feel I am a celebrity!" she believes. "I think the celebrities I'm intrigued by is that whole cult of being famous for absolutely nothing.
"All I want to do is contribute, to make people happy. I don't want a great big house, I don't want to marry a rapper and get a sex tape out for the attention. As someone with a daughter, as female role models, they are deplorable! Geordie Shore, The Only Way Is Essex ... have an opinion on something!"
When looking for role models for herself and her daughter, she finds plenty of strong, admirable characters in her own peer group.
"I look up to female comedians like Sarah Silverman, Sarah Millican, who has done so much, Tamsin Greig, who is so talented, and Caitlin Moran – I love her, I read her a lot. Now is the time for funny girls in the media ... they are being given a voice!"
A relaxed, smart, calm and confident comedian, Katherine confesses she actually fell into stand-up almost by accident.
"My partner was a comedian in Canada and I was just starting doing open mic' nights, and he said 'you gotta go to the UK, it's the best place in the world for comedy!' So I came for a month, and a month turned into a year, and then turned into five years."
And while she acknowledges that finding herself divorced and with a child in a new country has not been without challenges, she has remained positive, welcoming new opportunities, from forthcoming TV appearances to the chance to create her own sitcom, with a level-headed enthusiasm.
"I'm developing a comedy series about a fish out of water, which is based on my experiences as a waitress.
"The script has been commissioned and we'll see if they like it, and then see if there's a pilot.
"I'm just taking it one step at a time," she says, adding: "I've been so lucky here ... everything happens for a reason."