You seem to have cracked TV panel shows. What’s your secret?

Rihanna shot her first music video not far from my school in Canada. Around that time, I read an interview she’d given about how she was nervous about being an unknown in the music industry, and Beyoncé had advised her: “Wherever you are, act like you belong there, and you will.”

Do you think working at Hooters has given you a particular aptitude for dealing with bad behaviour?

I have to say it was bad girls I encountered at Hooters, not bad boys! We were children running the whole restaurant while our managers hid from us upstairs. What I learned in that matriarchy is actually how to keep the respect of other women. I was popular because I pulled my weight, helped a lot, and made the girls laugh.

As a winner of the Nivea Funny Women Award, do you think women-only award competitions are a good (or even a necessary) thing?

I do think gender-specific comedy competitions are a good thing. All competitions are showcases – not necessarily fair rankings of who’s funniest. Every show is a sum of its parts, so a competition show is counterintuitive to me. But it’s a great way to make friends and to celebrate your peers. There are people who say that ‘female comedy’ is its own genre, when a women-only bill proves there are many different viewpoints and voices from the same gender.

How on earth do you manage the Fringe as a performing single mum?

By not being cool. I don’t have much of a social life without Violet (who is now seven), but I do book a babysitter for her for the hour that I’m on stage and an extra evening here or there if I decide to go to the Abattoir.

Have you any advice for this year’s newbies?

Nobody cares more about your success or failure than you do.

Words: Kate Copstick

Katherine Ryan: Work in Progress The Stand Comedy Club, 4–13 August 

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