Katherine Ryan

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Katherine Ryan
Katherine Ryan 2014.jpg
Ryan in 2014
Katherine Louisa Ryan

(1983-06-30) 30 June 1983 (age 37)
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
  • Canadian
  • Irish [1]
Alma mater Ryerson University
  • Comedian
  • writer
  • actress
  • presenter
Partner(s)Bobby Kootstra
(civil partnership; 2019)

Katherine Louisa Ryan (born 30 June 1983) [2] is a Canadian-Irish comedian, writer, presenter and actress based in the United Kingdom. [3] [4]


She has appeared on many British panel shows, including as a regular team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks , A League of Their Own , Mock the Week , 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, Ryan has appeared on numerous television series in the UK, including the sitcoms Campus , Episodes and her Netflix show The Duchess .

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. She has had two live stand-up specials released on Netflix: Katherine Ryan: In Trouble (2017) and Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room (2019).

Early life

Ryan's father, Finbar, [5] is a draughtsman and owner of an engineering company who originally emigrated from Ireland to Canada.[ citation needed ] Her mother Julie McCarthy is British [6] /Canadian and owns an IT consulting company. [7] Ryan and her two younger sisters were born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario. [8] The three siblings spent time in Cork, Ireland, visiting their paternal grandparents. [9]

Ryan's parents separated when she was a teenager. [10] When she was 18, she decided to leave home and chose to study city planning at Ryerson University in Toronto. While attending university, she worked at restaurant chain Hooters, and she then began training other waitresses.[ citation needed ] In her spare time she undertook open mic nights as an alternative form of personal entertainment, and by graduation she had developed a basic comedic routine. [7] She was one of the many dancers in MuchMusic's Electric Circus program.


After graduation, Ryan continued working for Hooters as a corporate trainer, travelling around Canada to train other waitresses, and helping to open the then 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. [7] [4]

As a comedian

Ryan performing stand-up in 2012 Katherine Ryan, Scoundrels, 2012.jpg
Ryan performing stand-up in 2012

Ryan first appeared on television as herself in multiple episodes of the Canadian music video review show Video on Trial between season one in 2005 and her last appearance in 2008 in season 3. After relocating to England, she first appeared on Channel 4's 8 Out of 10 Cats in 2012. She had previously appeared in the cast of 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. [11] Ryan was later featured on the Whitney Cummings Just for Laughs 2013 Gala that was taped before a live audience on 28 July 2013. [12] [13] She has since taken new routines to the Edinburgh Festival. [7]

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 . [14] In 2016, Ryan appeared on series 2 of Taskmaster . She beat Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Richard Osman and Jon Richardson, to win the season. [15]

Ryan went on a comedy tour in 2016, called Kathbum, a name her toddler sister used to call her. [16] In February 2017, Netflix released Katherine Ryan: In Trouble, featuring her stand-up comedy live performance at the Hammersmith Apollo! in London, during that tour. [17] [18]

She joined Jimmy Carr in 2017, to host four series of the reboot of Your Face or Mine? . In 2018, Ryan joined American comedy panel show, The Fix as a team captain. In July 2019, Netflix released her second live stand-up special, Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room . [19]


As an actress, Ryan has appeared on numerous television series in the UK, including the sitcoms Campus , [20] [21] Episodes [22] and Badults. Ryan stars in the August 2020 season 1, Netflix comedy The Duchess, based on a single mother's life in London. Ryan is credited as the writer, executive producer, and creator [23] of the original production. [24]

Other work

Ryan wrote a weekly column in the British entertainment magazine NME . [25]

On 6 June 2014, YouTube comedy duo Jack and Dean released a music video for their song "Consent", featuring Ryan in an acting role. [26]

In 2016, Ryan provided the voice of the stuck up white, odd-eyed cat and leader of The Sunshine Circle for Cats Ranceford in Disney XD and Teletoon's animated television series Counterfeit Cat .

In 2021, Ryan hosted the six-part reality competition All That Glitters: Britain's Next Jewellery Star on BBC2. [27]


For her comedy work, Ryan won the Nivea Funny Women Award. She was also runner-up in the Amused Moose Laugh-Off competition in 2008. [28]

Personal life

Katherine Ryan has previously dated actor and TV presenter Jeff Leach [29] and had a relationship with comedian Alex Edelman. [30]

In 2019, Ryan entered into a civil partnership with Bobby Kootstra. The ceremony took place in Denmark in the presence of her daughter. She and Kootstra had dated in Canada as teenagers and were reunited when Ryan returned to her hometown while filming an episode of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? . [31] [32] Ryan lives with her partner and daughter in Hertfordshire. [33] Their second child, a son, was born in June 2021. [34]

Ryan has been open about the cosmetic surgery she has had. [35] She had a breast augmentation in her early 20s, [36] and then a second augmentation after a relationship ended. [37]

She has been treated for skin cancer twice. [38] [39]

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