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Thursday, March 31, 2022

March 31, 2022: Stand-Up Studying: Katherine Ryan

[For this year’s April Fool’s series, I wanted to highlight one great routine each from a handful of the many wonderful stand-up comedians doing their thing these days—in case, y’know, you’re (like me) looking to move on from a problematic fave. Add your faves, present and past, in comments!]

Yesterday’s subject, Jim Jefferies, is an Australian immigrant who came to the U.S. by way of the U.K., and still incorporates those different cultures and perspectives into much of his comedy (although, to quote a great line from that gun control set-piece when he acknowledges that hostile audience members might tell him to go back where he came from: “No. I’m here legally, I pay my taxes, and your 1st Amendment means I can say that your 2nd Amendment sucks balls”). Whereas today’s subject, the very funny and thoughtful comic Katherine Ryan, is an American expat living in Britain, or at least was when she filmed her wonderful 2019 special Glitter Room.

That culture clash, or at least culture shock, is one main subject of Ryan’s special, particularly when it comes to raising her pre-teen daughter who appears (as Ryan tells it at least, and likely exaggerates it as all good stand-ups do) to be becoming more English by the day. But another, related main subject for Ryan’s thoughtful and funny observations is gender and identity, and particularly the wide range of limiting and oppressive images and narratives around gender that continue to influence both young girls like her daughter and adult women like Ryan herself (and, of course, all of us who live in this moment and global culture).

Those topics inform the special’s best set-piece, which also happens to be one of the most unique as well as smartest commentaries on Hamilton I’ve ever heard (the first hyperlink is the Ryan bit; the second is a Guest Post on the musical from my friend and three-time Guest Poster Emily Lauer). Once again, you can watch the whole of this bit at that first hyperlink, so I’m not going to say too much more—check it out and enjoy!

Last stand-up fave tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Takes on Ryan and/or other faves you’d share?

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