September 10, 2020
EP. 23 — Katherine Ryan
Comedian, writer, presenter, and actor Katherine Ryan joins Jameela this week to discuss how being a new mother was surprisingly helpful in getting Katherine’s start in comedy, a few of her dating disasters, how to raise an amazing daughter, processing a difficult miscarriage, and their thoughts on plastic surgery.
Katherine’s new show The Duchess is out now on Netflix!
23 — Katherine Ryan
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of “I Weigh” with Jameela Jamil. I hope you’re OK. I am. I’m a mixed bag as ever. If you can hear the kind of rasp in my voice, it’s not because I’ve become even sexier. It’s because I am in a state that is on fire and everywhere I go, I can smell fire and I can smell burning. And the air quality is absolutely buggered. You can’t see beyond your own house. When you look out of the window, it’s just like a, it’s a living nightmare. So that’s a lot. It’s really just like impossible to escape what is happening in this world. However hard you try to. And it’s OK if you’re just not coping very well. It’s also OK if you’re only now starting to process how fucked this year has been. You know, that is a normal process of the brain to survive when something is at its peak of trauma and just kind of get through it, muscle through it, bake banana bread, you know, be an amazing human who can just sort of go with the flow. And then once things start to, like, vaguely settle, even if only temporarily, that’s when your body chooses to finally fall apart. Your brain is like, I’m safe to finally process all of this horrifying shit that has just happened. I kind of always compare it to the fact that I’m always the most out of breath after I’ve been running. Now, I don’t run often, but I remember from the three times I ran that that’s what happened, that I got the sweatiest and the most out of breath afterwards. And I think that that’s how our brains cope as well, truly. You know, I had a meltdown last night till 3:00 in the morning, just sobbing my eyes out because I saw a picture of Kate Beckinsale, you know, saying goodbye to her little dog that she’s had for many years. Who was, you know, old and passing away. And so she documented his final moment. And she’s holding him and she’s wearing a mask. And she’s clearly very upset and just wrote a really heartbreaking post about it. And then I lost my shit. Lost my shit, immediately all I could see was, as a classic narcissist myself, holding my little puppy, having died. I just went to the darkest place ever and then cried for hours about the fact that one day he’s going to die, like a five year old, it had only just occurred to me that he might not be here forever and I lost it. I do hope that at some point people start using like, kind of blur out sensitivity, wanting for that sort of content, because I don’t think all of us can cope. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am overreacting due to the year. But yeah, much bond, much more bonded to my dog than I thought my British cold heart would be capable of. Also, speaking of dogs. Sorry, lastly, not that anyone asked for this conversation, but if you are like many people, someone who rescued a dog or got a puppy or whatever, this, during lockdown, ’cause you were like finally I have time to let properly raise and love a little animal. And, you know, they’ll keep me company and distract me from the horror of the world because they don’t know about the news or politics or Twitter or climate change. So I’ve been posting, you know, like sort of my most loving moments with my dog while he’s asleep on my lap or he’s being completely adorable. But I realize I’m complicit in the highlight reel culture of Instagram. And I’ve been fucking deceiving everyone by making him only look like the best dog ever. And therefore, people have been sending me these panicked messages saying, oh, no, am I a bad person? Because actually I’ve been having loads of regret since getting a puppy because I’m exhausted and I’m not sleeping and I’m not having a kind of, almost like equivalent of postnatal depression about getting a dog. Where you’re not feeling bonded to it. It’s a fucking nightmare. You haven’t slept. You do feel resentment and then you feel like a terrible person for that because it’s just this defenseless little baby or this little new scared, you know, dog that’s in this new house who’s had maybe a traumatic life. You’re not a bad person. And my dog does not just sleep all the time. There’s a lot of, of choosing specifically behind our best speakers to do a shit every single day. There was about a month and a half where he couldn’t, no, maybe two and a half months where he couldn’t sleep through the night. So it felt like a version of sleep torture. And I’m someone who once I wake up once, I can’t go back to sleep because I’ve got such an overactive anxious mind. So I was sleep deprived. I was I felt stalked because he has to be in every single room with you staring at you the whole time. Even when I go for a piss, he has to come and like sit between my feet on the floor. And all of this is very cute, but also it’s very overwhelming. Your life changes very, very fast. I cannot imagine what it’s like when you have children. But having a new little pup, especially if a pup isn’t very well, is a lot. And so I’m sorry for not documenting the more, the moments where I just want to cry because I’m so helpless and I don’t know how to communicate with this little baby that is just this puppy that is just looking up at me, not understanding why he’s stressful, because he is stressed. You know? So I think it’s probably because in those moments of despair, I’m not likely to want to get my phone out. But I will be more transparent if I can be about the moments that are nightmarish about dogs. I think, you know, I think maybe part of why I wasn’t totally prepared for a dog is because I was looking at everyone else’s fucking Instagram highlight reels being like, oh, they’re just sweet and they sleep and they’re funny. They’re funny all the time. No, they’re not. They’re not. Sometimes it’s really, really not funny. So anyway, you’re not alone. It’s OK if you’ve got the post-dog natal depression for a bit, you’re not a bad person to feel overwhelmed or resentful. That time does pass. He has now become a dream dog. It took us three and a half months almost of just incessant attention, training and vigilance and inhuman levels of patience. And we’ve gotten to a good place. Things do get better. They do settle down. They’re just freaked out. They don’t know who on earth or what you are. Anyway. OK, so I’ve spoken for bloody ages. Now it’s time to hear someone much better and smarter and funnier than me speak. I am talking about the epic Katherine Ryan. I’m so excited for you to hear this episode. It’s one of my favorites of the whole season so far. She’s such a legend. I’m such a big fan of hers. I remember first seeing her supporting Chelsea Handler onstage over in London, and I laughed so much that a tiny, teeny little bit of actual piss came out. And I think in that moment where your bladder no longer can hold still, you know that a star has been born. It was so obvious that she was such a superstar and she’s going to have an unbelievable career. She has gone on to become one of the absolute faces of British comedy, even though she’s Canadian, but she lives in Britain. She is, she was named this week the funniest woman in the UK on the cover of a magazine. She is new show out called “The Duchess” that comes out this Friday. And she’s just an icon. Go and watch everything she’s ever done. Go and listen to every YouTube clip, every interview, every segment of her on a comedy show. Watch her Netflix specials. They’re so, so funny. And and, of course, her new sitcom that she’s written and is starring in. She came on to talk to me about so many wonderful things. She’s such a straight up human being and she’s so incredibly eloquent in the way that she dismantles ridiculous systems of oppression. She kind of attacks things by just asking why or pointing out the stupidity of something rather than getting angry. And she has this stoicism that I think comes from being just a young single mother and everything that she went through in her life. She hasn’t had an easy path, but she’s come through it with such empathy, such understanding, such patience and such a search for the truth, and all the while doing it so hilariously. She’s so quick. I just, oh, God, I’m obsessed. So I got to sit down with her. We talked about being a woman in comedy. We talked about feminism. We talked about the current state of things in the world right now. We talk about surgery and fillers and Botox and the motivation behind that, because Katherine and I kind of sit sort of on two different sides of that, but also kind of not, which you can hear more about. But most importantly, we talk about something that not enough people discuss. And I want to issue a trigger warning for anyone who may have had a miscarriage, who isn’t ready to hear about miscarriage, Katherine had one this year and came on to talk to me in a lot of depth and detail with all of her heart about that experience. It was her first ever miscarriage. And, and what I think it taught her was how little she knew about miscarriage, how little all of us know, how little we are prepared for it because we don’t speak about it, and the reason we don’t speak about it is because somehow our patriarchal system has still made us feel somewhat like it something to be ashamed of. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve had two. Most of my friends have had at least one. Many people have them and don’t even know that they were pregnant or that they had a miscarriage, they think it’s just an intense period. It’s a very, very normal human thing. It’s so common. And you’ve done nothing wrong. It’s just your body making a decision about what you are or are not ready for. Not whether or not you’re good enough, just whether or not you’re ready. And so she, she really took me through the whole journey emotionally, physically, like what the advice she was given by her midwives. It was so illuminating and it made me feel so much more prepared if it ever happens to me again. And she just has this way of just making everything sound OK. I mean, she’s this, the most ideal guest for something like this, because our whole journey with “I Weigh” is to demystify and destigmatize taboo subjects that just shouldn’t be taboo. Normally, those things are around women. So this is a hugely important subject to me. If you are someone who’s had a miscarriage and is ready to hear about it, or if you are someone who knows someone who has had one and you don’t know how to support them. I think this is a really interesting insight into what is going on in a woman’s head, what’s happening to her hormones and, and how her life shifts or doesn’t. And so please enjoy the absolutely ideal human being that is the unforgettable Katherine Ryan. My friend and love. I am her creepy stalker. Katherine Ryan, you are a writer, comedian and actress. You were the first woman to host “8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown” and are still the only UK based female comedian to have global special on Netflix. You work more than anyone I know, and you make the world a funnier, better and more honest place. I love you. You are my biggest crush. Thank you so much for coming on my podcast.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:10:37] Thank you very much for having me. I’m going to dive right in and say, do you know what I hate that they do?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:41] What?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:10:41] Is they go, you’re the only woman, you’re the first woman.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:46] I know.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:10:46] They hit you with pedestal feminism. They go, you’re the first British woman, I’m like, whose fault is that?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:51] I know. I know. And I’m sorry I contributed to that pedestal.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:10:55] It’s not your fault. It’s in the bio. It’s in the bio. You’re just reading what they told you to read. It’s sad.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:02] But also, I think that it is important because it shows that it is possible and some people might think it’s never happened before. And also, they don’t know that you are a UK based comedians. ‘Cause they might hear your accent and not know. So I still think it’s relevant and I think it’s inspiring to young people who want to know that someone smashed through not just one, but like 45 glass ceilings. I’m amazed you’re not covered in blood.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:11:26] Well, from the waist down. This is why video calls are fine.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:30] Well, I’m really glad that you crossed all of the ponds to come over to the UK because for many, many years now, maybe we’re going on seven or eight years, you have been a huge love of mine. I used to love you from afar. And now I’m allowed to love you up close. Not in a filthy way as I’m making out, but-.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:11:49] We’re still pretty far.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:50] Genuinely, you are one of my favorite just people. And so I’m happy that you exist. I have created this podcast about mental health and shame and feminism and all things that make us who we are. Because, you know, especially I think now it’s fair to say that this pandemic and everything being slowed down as much is has created space for some people’s issues to surface. And we also don’t have access, some people never have access to therapy because so many countries in the West are absolutely fucked. But some people in particular right now don’t have access to any kind of support system. And so that’s what this podcast is, just a way to let people know, hey, you’re not alone. And the reason why I wanted so badly to speak to you is because you are the queen of you’re not alone. You have made an entire brand of just telling people everything, the most personal stories and helping them recognize that these little kinks in life and these, I don’t know, hurdles don’t define you and they don’t stop you from going on to have what you want and be who you are. And so I think that’s, I have so many things I want to talk to you about because you’ve been so ridiculously open. In fact, I think I’m probably more open because of you. So it’s your fault.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:13:10] It’s fun, isn’t it, because you alienate a lot of the family that you didn’t want around anyway.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:13:16] Yeah. Have you always been this open?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:13:20] Yeah, I mean, yes. I just didn’t get rewarded for it for a number of years, and I think when you talk about female comedians or we could just call them comedians, and then like male comedians, I’ve, I’ve heard someone start calling the boys male comedians.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:13:37] Comediennes and perverts.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:13:39] Yeah. Is that I think young women for the most part, and I am generalizing, we don’t get rewarded for being alpha when we’re young or from being forthright or for being funny. And I definitely am from a small place, a town in Canada where it wasn’t valued. I thought that why would you want to do anything if you weren’t having a laugh with someone? But then I have Irish families, so that’s probably where that comes from. But I was definitely ostracized. I was definitely weird. And then I had a period of time, you know, I would say things that offended people. I would be provocative. And I didn’t mean to. I had all these tools that I wanted to throw away. I just wanted to be a cheerleader and I wanted to be quiet and simple and pretty and soft. And I, no matter how hard I tried, I was never those things. And then all those tools that I spent so long trying to throw away are the tools I’m lucky stuck with me because they’re the whole reason that I have a rapport with people now and a career. And I have friends who are very like minded now and who are layered and interesting. Had I stayed in that small town and been like, OK. And-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:50] Shrunk yourself, yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:14:51] Done the pageant. Yeah. Wouldn’t have turned out very happy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:54] What was that you said in one of your stand ups? This line that stuck with me forever where you were like, when you were talking about how women have to stay small. We must, we mustn’t take up any space in case a man wants to build a golf course there.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:15:07] Yeah. Well, this is what it is with dieting and with being quiet and with being good is men take up all this space, generally speaking, and we’re meant to get smaller and smaller. And that’s not your space because a man might want to golf in it. You don’t know, so you just have to stay out of the way, be young, and be small, and be quiet.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:29] Anyone who hasn’t seen Katherine’s standup or just anything she’s ever done in front of a camera. And also, please, please listen to her podcast. She’s a true joy. So I want to talk to you a bit about shame, because that is, that’s our biggest fetish on this, on this podcast. We love it. We love talking about it. We love figuring out people’s journeys through and past it. What would you say in your life have been some of the biggest things you’ve had to negotiate with in terms of shame?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:16:03] I think a really big turning point for me and something that was a big struggle in my life. I’ve read a lot of indigenous psychology and indigenous literature, and they believe in ancestral trauma. They believe in suffering, when suffering comes into your life. You have to invite it closer and ask it what it has to teach you, rather them pushing it away. And I had a few years of suffering. I loved them. They’re my favorite years. I always go back to them and go, oh, I learned so much then, and now I feel like I have this clarity. I can always see exactly what people are saying, what men especially are trying to swing past people. I can always see it because when I became a single mother, I had a lot of shame about that, even though outwardly, I guess intellectually, I knew that being a single mother was aspirational. I always thought, regarded these women as being brave and strong.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:59] So noble.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:17:01] Yeah, but when it happened to me, I felt that maybe ancestral shame of, well, you should have worked harder to keep your family together and you couldn’t manage that man. And you, you know, you are the failure. And still, when people find out that I’m not with my daughter’s father, the assumption is always that he left me. Oh, he left you. And it’s like, he left because I asked him to. Like I ended that relationship and I didn’t end it in the most graceful way. I started seeing someone else right away. In some cultures, it’s called overlapping and I felt a great deal of shame about that. And I, because I was so shameful. This is why shame to me is very dangerous.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:50] Wait. Shameful about being a single mother or shameful about the overlapping?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:17:53] All of it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:54] The sword crossing? As they call it.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:17:54] Sword crossing. All of it. I just felt like a failure and a bad person and a bad mother. And I, everyone in my family expected a lot from me growing up. And the fact that I had no money and I was in a foreign country with a small baby and my life was really then quite hectic. There was a lot of chaos. I just felt so much shame. And now, I didn’t realize at the time, being shame, having that much shame. You have to get rid of it as quick as you can because it puts you in a really vulnerable place, because I felt like nothing. Then I attracted choices and people who were nothing. And then I was in a few relationships that I would maybe describe as like, what are the words? Toxic, bordering on dangerous. And I don’t blame those people. I mean, I definitely sought them out. I sought out people who did not deserve us. And then I would double down in those relationships and be like, well, you can’t be a failure twice, Katherine, you really must hold on to this one. You can make him… And I just was in a tailspin for a few years, all because of shame.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:12] Yeah. And I have this with so many of my friends who are single mothers that they end up dating someone just to fill that man shaped hole in the family portrait. You know what I mean?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:19:24] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:24] They’re just like I need someone so that it doesn’t look like I’m alone and therefore make choices that are just not always appropriate for them. And these partners of theirs, regardless of the gender, are able to get away with just total murder because not literally.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:19:38] Well.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:38] But because they. Well, yeah. But because they know that someone, they can sense your, and I don’t mean this word in the shaming way, but they can sense your desperation to not be alone. Because we have made loneliness such a stigma and single motherdom such stigma.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:19:56] Yeah. And then the more that people who love you acknowledge bad behavior, they say, well, that shouldn’t be happening and that shouldn’t be happening. And why are you tolerating that? I would dig my heels into that relationship even harder and say, well, none of it will matter if I can just prove that I was able to make this a success. And every time something bad would happen, it would strengthen my resolve to be like, well, you don’t want to introduce your daughter to a whole new man. I would always think better the devil you know. You don’t want to find a whole new one and start training him up from fresh and yeah, I tolerated a lot of behavior that was absolutely beneath my usual standard. And it took so many lessons. Now I know things like you never argue with an idiot, otherwise, people won’t know which one of you is the idiot. I also learned that people don’t have to understand you. You just walk away. You don’t have to give an explanation. I would always say, oh, well, he, he doesn’t understand that what he’s doing is bad behavior. He doesn’t understand how much he’s hurt me. I’ll just explain how I’m not the psycho and I’ll just explain. It’s like, no, don’t explain anything to them, who cares? Let him go live his life thinking you’re a psycho. That’s fine. Just walk away. And I haven’t, I was really proud of getting out of a few tricky things. And that’s why I did my latest Netflix special was really celebrating the comfort and the peacefulness in being alone, taking away the fear of that prospect, because I could have used a voice like that when I was a single mother. It was great being single. It’s great, you have nothing to be shameful about.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:47] Oh, it’s so much more space for you and your life and your existence. Where you’re not having to sort of cramp yourself, not just physically, but also cramp who you are. I also think that when I mean, I, I come from, I mean, I don’t know why we call it a broken home like that’s such, again, that’s a shaming narrative.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:22:04] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:04] Like it just, make, it just sounds like failure and despair, where it’s actually, I’ve always been an advocate for if it’s not working, definitely break up so that your child doesn’t grow up seeing a really toxic, unhappy relationship, and thinking that that’s what they should have, because that in itself can also model someone’s way of going forward in love. I think. ‘Cause seeing that people just, just eating shit and being with someone, who doesn’t make them incredibly happy. I don’t think that’s good for a kid. I would, I would rather that they were in two separate peaceful households that belong to happier people. But my parents broke up when I was very young. And I think that it impacts people differently for, for me, it definitely gave me a feeling for a long time of I have to now make a little unit because I didn’t have a family. So now I am obsessed with the idea of making a little unit and having my own little chosen family. And so that would make me, I just jumped from relationship to relationship to relationship throughout my 20s because I didn’t know how to be alone, because I was so scared of ending up like my parents. So that’s why I think that’s interesting. And also sometimes as adults, we try to, we try to shape our lives in a way that will make us feel like we fix what happened in the past. So it’s like if I can make this relationship work now. Or if I can make this person who’s unhappy, happy, then that will fix the parent that I couldn’t make happy or the marriage that I couldn’t help, you know, bring together. So I think it is definitely really interesting. I love that you’ve been so open throughout your dating life as well with your various horror stories. There have been incredibly funny and joyous to listen to. Do you have a top? Do you have like a best hits?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:23:43] I mean-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:43] Of your favorite ones.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:23:46] I have to say, I’ve only ever dated Korean businessmen, all my ex-boyfriends have been Korean businessmen. So if anyone recognizes themself in any story, it wasn’t you, unless you were a Korean businessman.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:03] OK, great.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:24:03] I mean, there’s the asshole story. I was, he was not an asshole, but I was on a date, and this man, like at a beautiful restaurant leaned in and said to me, you know, I have to tell you, you have one of the top four assholes that I’ve ever seen. And I was like. Because he didn’t say it was number one. He said one of the top four. So I know it’s number four. It’s like that’s an honorable mention. That was painful. That’s when I stopped dating actors and musicians and went straight to Korean businessmen.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:38] I love that. I loved the top four asshole story so much. I’ve been told by, and I don’t even know if this is an insult or not, but this isn’t about my asshole. Don’t worry. But.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:24:49] Good to know no one’s insulting your asshole.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:50] No one actually has an opinion on mine, to be honest.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:24:54] Yes, they do. This is what you don’t realize. This is why I had to tell the world that information is that I never knew they were looking at our assholes. But they are. And they are remembering them. And they’re making a little Yelp review. They are looking for, I’m not looking for their asshole. You don’t think anyone has seen your asshole because you don’t try to look at someone’s asshole. Trust me when I tell you they’re seeking out your asshole.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:17] This is not why I brought you here for, to freak out all the listeners about their assholes. There’s nothing they could do. They can’t even. They can’t wax. They can’t bleach, no one’s allowed to leave their house. What did Russell Brand call his? His dark, leathery bagel. Truly the most upsetting term of all time. Anyway.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:25:34] He’s very upsetting.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:34] Yeah. So I’ve been told by three separate lovers in a loving way that it’s like making love to a memory foam mattress. Just ’cause I’m-.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:25:49] What does that mean?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:49] Because I have no muscles and it almost feels like I have no bones. I’m just sort of, I’m a, I’m a long, slim squish. I am, you know, the the car sales inflatable people. But I am, I feel like a pillow. I’m just a, did you ever eat a flump? It’s a long marshmallow.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:26:08] Yeah. That’s nice.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:08] And I’m a flump. It’s just a one long marshmallow. So, yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:26:12] They like that. You’re like a boob.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:15] Yeah. I’m just one very long boob and so don’t know why I brought that up.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:26:21] What’s really just, yeah. What you need to know is that that lover has a frame of reference and has fucked a memory foam mattress in the past. He was like this exactly like that time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:38] That means three of my five lovers have all bung. Bung? Being the past tense of bang, they’ve all bung memory foam mattress or one long boob. OK, I’m pivoting back to you and away from my bodily makeup. This year, you started your own podcast from your house. You’re not really, you don’t really have guests over then sort of conversations with your family members that you asked for their permission, after you’ve spoken to them, to air them.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:27:11] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:13] You kicked off this new podcast talking about something incredibly traumatic that happened to you this year, which was a miscarriage. And while it feels very recent, I mean, it is literally very recent. I, I would love to talk to you about it because I feel like the way that you opened up has helped so many people, not just people I know, but I’ve just seen the Internet, just the wave of support for you, but also thanking you because nobody talks about miscarriages publicly.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:27:43] Yeah. Well-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:44] Because it’s another thing about shame. It’s as if we failed.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:27:47] It is. I think that people attach it to this deep failure. And my advice would be, don’t help people, because when you do the, they write you emails about it everyday. So I’ve opened up this Pandora’s box of grief. And everyday now that I open my email, there are 50 stories about women who have had pregnancy losses. And it’s quite emotionally taxing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:19] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:28:19] You’re like, whoa, I just know every time I open my computer, it’s like grief, grief, grief. However-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:25] And then a dick, and then grief and then grief and then grief.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:28:27] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:27] And then another dick.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:28:28] There’s a little palate cleanser of someone’s balls.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:31] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:28:32] Men and women. I don’t want to generalize.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:36] No.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:28:37] But. Yeah. So it was traumatic at the time. And now I feel a lot better. So if that’s any consolation, it can be something that if you deal with it properly, it is a distant memory hopefully. And I think the mind is very interesting in how it heals you. It sort of, the same as you forget childbirth that you almost forget, you know, I’m sure you forgot your car accident. People say they get in accidents and they forget. So it’s a lot the same. I think what was most traumatic about the miscarriage is I always knew about miscarriage. I found myself. I always thought I was very well versed in women’s issues, but I didn’t realize that once you saw a heartbeat on the scan at seven weeks that you could go back at 10 weeks and without any pain or any bleeding, you still have all your symptoms. You’re still nauseous. Every first trimester symptom is still there. There’s just no heartbeat. And you are a tomb for this deceased embryo the last few weeks. It’s, it was just the weirdest feeling. It really blindsided me. I always thought you would bleed. So I didn’t really know about a silent miscarriage. So then I went to work. And then I dealt with that. And it’s kind of weird being a clown because all of a sudden now I know that, I mean, I’m using triggering language, but it is really just being pregnant with a dead baby. I was like, well, now I’m pregnant with a dead baby. I have to go to work, tell jokes to all these people, meet them, chat with them after, be smiley. And that’s what all the Botox is for. Just being like, it’s fine. And then they give you medicine and you think it’s going to come out. But it still lasted for a month. So I always had to go to work. I had it for a month before eventually they were like, OK, you can have surgery, it just doesn’t want to come out. And that’s where the real trauma for my experience came from, is that it was holding on. And I thought, oh, I just felt really like a bad mother, really trying to evict this deceased fetus.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:47] I didn’t know that. That they wait, I didn’t know they make you wait. Both, I’ve had two miscarriages before and they were just-.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:30:54] Oh, I’m sorry.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:55] They were as dramatic as the movies tell you they are. And it was like very, very clear what happened immediately. I’m OK. And to the point where I actually have a different kind of guilt. I feel guilty for being OK about my miscarriages.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:31:11] Ooh.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:12] And so that’s a different way, which sometimes people accidentally make you feel bad or intentionally where you are expected to be very traumatized for a very long time. And in the few films I’ve seen about it, they’re very traumatized for a very long time. And so I felt like a dead cold bitch for being able to move on to be like, OK, well, it just it wasn’t the right time and my body wasn’t ready. And my body let me know that this isn’t the right time for me. And now I’m moving on. It impacted me for a short while. And. And however your brain chooses, that’s clearly just what my brain did. My brain compacted it into, like, you know, put it in some sort of pragmatic compartment. And I was able to get on. It does make me a better person. Does it make you a better person if you’re out there and you feel the same way. But anyway, sorry. Back to you.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:31:55] Not at all. No. Whatever your reaction is, whatever your brain decides to do to process it is perfect. And your pragmatic reaction really is the right one. That’s what the midwives say. They go, well, this, the midwife said to me that it was a sign of strength because women and anyone who has children, they invest so much time in gestation and then raising a small child. It’s a huge investment. So it’s a sign of strength if your body knows, no, you know, this one’s too poorly, you know, it won’t be compatible with life. Your body preserves your time. You know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:39] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:32:39] It’s goes, no, you don’t have time for this and moves you forward. And as like shrewd as that may sound, that’s nature and the midwives are very pragmatic about it, and I think your reaction is great. And to be honest, that’s how I feel about it now. But I at the time, I was shameful. I sort of felt like I let my husband down. I have a husband now. My current husband, I let him down. And I also felt shameful just for having wanted that pregnancy so much. I just felt like there was egg on my face. You know, that expression where I was like, oh, well, I knew that, I knew-. I just felt silly for not realizing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:25] That’s so interesting. Why? Why do you that is?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:33:30] Well, it’s definitely the wrong feeling because it’s ridiculous. But you just go, I can only be very transparent about exactly how I felt. And I felt really stupid for not realizing and for walking around all excited. And I felt really foolish and I felt really shameful. And then it was my way of dealing with things is to talk about them. And I felt also this collective grief, because, you know, that it doesn’t just happen to you. I understand what the statistics are even more so now, but I know it happens. And all I could think was this happens to so many people and they’re just walking around like they are serving you your coffee. And they are nurses in the hospital as well. And they go to their jobs and they’re living in the world around you. And what they all want to do is grab you and say, I’m pregnant with a dead baby. And so I felt that collective grief and I just felt so sad for everyone.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:32] Yeah. I can’t imagine having to walk around for a month waiting for that. That was, that is something that I didn’t know anyone had to do. I know that that can happen sometimes with an abortion where you have to hang on to a baby that you would like to have aborted. That happened to me as well. When I. And, you know, you’re pregnant. You know, you don’t want to be pregnant anymore. And they make you stay pregnant for long enough that they can see the embryo. And so you have to go through all the symptoms. And it can be sometimes like a month, I think was like a month and a half, where I had to stay pregnant. And that was very traumatizing and felt a little bit like, oh, do they set this time frame, so that you have time to, you know, quote unquote “bond” and then you won’t want to do it. I didn’t know.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:35:14] Maybe. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:14] I’m sure there’s a practical medical thing. But, you know, there’s, it’s definitely something that can be quite stressful. So did you feel better after having that operation? Was that like a part of your ability to heal?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:35:26] Immediately better. I had a car from the hospital to work. Then I went to work.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:30] Oh, my God, Katherine.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:35:32] Yeah. And I continued to bleed for 40 days after that. It was like Lent. But I felt just like immediately relieved, like I could start the next chapter because you just feels so arrested when it’s happening. And my behavior was erratic. I mean, I was hosting the NME Awards and I was just acting like, I just acted like a rock star for about a month. I think.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:02] I think that’s completely fair.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:36:05] Yeah. Maybe.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:06] Well, I think that’s your way, that’s your way of, like, acting out and distracting yourself and like, reengaging with your autonomy. ‘Cause I think you feel a little bit powerless when something happens to your body, when your body does anything that you did not tell your body to do.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:36:19] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:20] I think it can really make you feel a little bit powerless. And so it’s you just wanting to take all of the control back. That makes perfect sense. And I thought you were great at the NME Awards, for all the things I’ve heard and seen. And also I think that, you know, it’s also really important for you to understand, not you specifically, I know that you understand this, but anyone out there, you know, especially someone who might be very young and might not have access to this information, that your hormones are just having their own bloody like Mardi Gras. It’s just Coachella, up in there, it’s chaos.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:36:54] It was Coochella.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:55] Yeah, it was Coochella indeed. And so I’m really glad that you’ve been able to work through that. Did you use therapy? Did you, did you take steps too? Or were you just, came to your own kind of conclusion of closure?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:37:10] I have this wonderful therapist called Pam Golaright. And she works with a company called Belief. And she’s always like, you’ve got to stop mentioning me because I’m full. And then people ring Pam. What Pam should do is just write a bunch of books and we will buy those because she changed my life in so many ways back when I was really vulnerable. But I spoke to her about this and I miss her. I was almost a little bit like, oh, great, I have something to ring Pam about. And she was really helpful. She. It’s just sometimes people, you spoke earlier about access to therapy, some people are just resistant to therapy and they say, no, I can do everything, it really can be, if you have that access, so useful to hear what you already know repeated by a third party. Just having Pam repeat the pragmatic sides of it to me and really listen to my grief. It’s really great because you do need space just to be sad. And then I also spoke to a psychic. And-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:18] Oh yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:38:18] Yeah. Here. Do you know Lou Sanders, the comedian?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:20] Yes, I do.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:38:22] She’s-. Yeah. She recommends to everyone. Her psychic, Jill, in the Pyrenees. And Jill does voice calls. And she, she is a energy cleaner more than a psychic. But she told me that gratitude is always really important, even when something terrible is happening to you. So you need to be in a place of gratitude. Write that little soul a letter thanking it for its service, thanking it for whatever role it’s had. Jill said that a soul like that comes with a purpose and that purpose might only be six weeks or 10 weeks or whatever it is. And then you go out into the forest and you burn the letter because the spirit world understands fire. And make of that what you will, but I felt that it was very healing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:09] Great. I support anything that does that. And also, you know, because of that little person or being, you have gone on to help thousands of people feel better and less alone in their experience. And so there will always be that.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:39:24] We named him Frolf. Like Frisbee golf, Frolf, because you can’t say Frolf and not smile.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:35] OK. That’s so good. I love that name. And we’re going to a break.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:39:53] Frolf.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:53] Frolf. And we’re back. So, Katherine, you already have a child. She’s now, how old is she now? 13? 11?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:39:59] Well, yeah, in a way, she just turned 11.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:03] Right. OK. So emotionally 13. Although, you know what? So I think I first met your daughter when she was about 7 or 8. And she’s always been 40, just like legit 40.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:40:17] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:17] I’ve always felt not only like I was talking to someone my own age, but someone much older, smarter and wiser than me. And I’m not kissing your ass. I am freaked out by your child to the point where I tell everyone I know about her. I don’t even talk about you. I never mention you. I just talk-.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:40:32] No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:33] About her because I’m so impressed. How did you do this?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:40:36] She is like a little old lady. She went out into your balcony and then left her sunglasses there and just bounced, you know, very glamorous.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:43] Oh, no. But she’s just like gives really thoughtful advice. Very, very forthcoming with her opinion. Very bright. And she just has this sense of empowerment that I did not recognize in myself, even as an adult, nevermind as a very small single digit child. Where does that come from? How did you do this? How can we all have a child like your child, please?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:41:04] Well, I think I’m a very good mother to very small children, and then I’m not sure if I’m a good mother to the age that she is now. So she may have regressed since I last saw you.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:21] Oh really?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:41:22] Only because I’m competing now-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:24] Right.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:41:24] With all these other girls and all these games and all these apps. She remains kind and wise, though. And quite manipulative.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:38] Brilliant.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:41:39] And yeah. And she always I mean, I think that communication was really important because when she was small, I didn’t have any, anyone else here in the U.K. and I really wanted to talk to her. And I couldn’t wait until she could speak back to me. And she was quite a fussy, like newborn, a really fussy infant. So I was just bored. So I potty trained her really young because I could tell by the look on her face, this doesn’t work, by the way, if you are employed. But I was at home, I could tell by the look on her face when she needed to go to the potty. So I just hold her over the potty. And then I figured out that babies, even before they can speak back, they can sign back. So I would do British sign language with her and then she could sign for things by the time she was seven, eight months. She could sign things that were meaningful to her. So loads of different animals, mouse, dog, cat, horse, hot, cold, help, inside, outside, cookie, cheese, apple. Those kind of things.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:37] That’s basically just my, my vocabulary now.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:42:40] Yeah, yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:41] Those are my needs. Go on.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:42:43] Exactly. So I had a little friend and then I always thought, I think I was just really, I didn’t have Western information to raise her. I didn’t go to any NCT meetings. I didn’t do the normal Western things of swaddling her and putting her away from me. I always carried her. I always co-slept. The potty training thing is called elimination communication. They do that all over most of the world. And in L.A., you’ll see it in L.A..
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:15] What the fuck is elimination communication?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:43:19] It’s like, other countries don’t train their kids to go in a nappy. And what we have to understand, what a lot of us do in the Western world is we say, I’m not going to potty train, it’s too soon to train them, but by putting a nappy on, you are training them. You’re training them to go in their nappy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:36] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:43:37] They think, well, this is what we do. And then when they’re 18 months, they have this sense of self. You change it. And that’s when kids are like, no, we’re not changing it. I go behind a couch in my nappy. That’s my routine.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:47] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:43:48] It just means communicating elimination.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:52] Lovely.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:43:52] People, yeah, people do it through sign language and people do it just by reading different cues on their baby’s faces. And it really worked for me. And then because she was never vulnerable, she didn’t have some stranger changing her nappy and she didn’t have that period of frustration where she couldn’t tell me what she wanted. She could always tell me what she wanted. Then I think she just grew up really calm and communication was highly valued. And even when I had these, like, crazy boyfriends, they never lived with us. So we grew up in a really quiet, symbiotic, democratic household.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:33] Yeah, very democratic. Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:44:35] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:36] But she doesn’t, she’d never come across as spoiled. What she comes across as just someone who really understands the lay of the land. And I think that whenever I think about becoming a mother, I, I genuinely think about you and I think about the way that you’ve raised your child and I think about the fact that we are raising children in a time where innocence, as an innocence, I don’t think we should tie ignorance to innocence and say that if someone doesn’t know about the evils of the world or how things work, then therefore they’re innocent. I think someone can be knowing and innocent at the same time. And I think that your daughter embodies that. I just think that we can’t protect them from the Internet. We can’t protect them from Tik Tok. We can’t protect them from body image issues and this that and the other and boys and everything. So we have to, or whoever. So therefore, the only way we can really protect them and truly preserve their innocence, I think, is to inform them. Is to empower them with knowledge because then their actual innocence is less likely to be taken away by someone or something that is bad. That is going to corrupt them. And so I think that it’s really important, you know, school doesn’t tell girls fuckle and our parents don’t really tell us, they don’t warn us what’s coming. And so, you know, have you been, like how forthright have you been with your daughter? About every, I mean, what’s coming in the world?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:45:54] Very, I mean, she, I don’t censor myself. And one thing that was really interesting-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:59] Did people used to judge you for that, by the way?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:46:02] Yeah. They still do, all the time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:04] Really?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:46:04] All the time. Yeah. Even stories that I tell them my standup. They’ll be like, well, you shouldn’t be telling her about that and she shouldn’t know this. And also, even because I do standup, I’ve done interviews where men have said, well, you have a very dirty mouth. How are you going to explain to your daughter one day about what you do? And I’m like, well, I think my daughter doesn’t have this Madonna and the whore complex where she views me as only a mother and a baby machine and an angel. My daughter knows that I’m a person. She knows everything.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:39] They never say that to men. I’ve never seen that said to a man.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:46:43] I know. I’m like, how does Mickey Flanagan answer that question?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:45] Exactly.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:46:46] Yeah. Tell me what Kevin Hart’s answer was. And that’s my answer. The only thing I don’t tell her, which is weird, I don’t admit to having had sex before. Because I can’t lose her respect.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:06] Right. OK. So she’s wise in other ways, just a little bit of a slut shamer, maybe.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:47:12] She is a slut shamer. She knows people have sex and she just she-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:18] Doesn’t like it.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:47:19] I think I just know what she can handle and what she can’t. She knows all about George Floyd. She knows everything that’s going on in politics. She knows a lot of the mistakes I’ve made. She knows, she knows everything. But she thinks I’m a virgin.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:37] Oh, God.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:47:39] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:40] That’s genuinely, that’s bloody hilarious. That’s so funny to me. Well, OK. We’ll tell your children the truth, whatever age they are. Just start it young because I think that it will protect them. And Katherine really does have a really great daughter who I’m terrified of.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:47:56] And tell them that you had IVF.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:58] Yeah. Tell them about the stork. Yeah. She’s, she’s smart in every way other than the fact that she thinks a stork delivered her. And that is her only blind spot. You have recently got married to your, drumroll, childhood sweetheart.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:48:16] Yeah. He’s so cute.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:17] And she actually gets along with him. And I would love for you to just briefly explain to people that you didn’t meet him at high school. And then the two of you stayed together all of this time. Like the American dream.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:48:29] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:30] You met each other. You broke up.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:48:33] Mmhmm.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:34] And then you went on to date a series of learning moments, teachable moments, that’s what we’re gonna refer to those men as. Those people as.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:48:42] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:42] And. And now you have met your-, how did you reconnect with him?
KATHERINE RYAN [00:48:46] Well, it’s so strange because I was at the first point of my life, I had dated a really nice man, but he wasn’t right for me. So I had really graduated in my journey of men. And I thought, OK, I did it. I know that I’m not the problem. I dated someone who’s very smart, very nice, very normal. We’re still friends now. But I don’t want that around. And then I resolved just to live as a fabulous, you know, single older woman. I was going to really cherish getting older. I was going to get one of those crazy shopping carts and many, many more dogs. Just start dressing more extravagantly.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:31] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:49:32] And have a really clean house. Everything rose gold. Loved that path for myself. And I was truly in a great place where for the first time I was satisfied. I wasn’t looking and I thought, great. And I had purchased sperm online because I thought I might still want to grow my family. So I had all these, you know-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:51] You were fully set up. Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:49:53] I was fully set up. And then I went home to Canada to film something for the BBC. And I was aware of him because we dated in high school and I really loved him in high school. I loved him a lot. And when we split for a variety of reasons, namely, we were 16. And I don’t think you should stay with the same person necessarily when you’re 16.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:50:15] No.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:50:15] I never would have the life or the journey or the experiences that I have now had I stayed with him. And then I saw him in a bar and I was like, and he looked better than ever. And I’m so pleased to confirm that I’m far more attracted to 37 year old men than I am to 16 year old men.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:50:33] Fantastic.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:50:34] Yeah, it was a really great feeling just to see him and go, oh, my gosh, you’re so much better looking now as a gray adult. And then I thought it would be funny to go home with him and have sex with him at my mom’s house because when am I going to get that opportunity again? I thought it would be hilarious. And he was into it. He thought it would be hilarious as well. And then we could both have a fun anecdote for our friends, and that would be it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:03] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:51:04] But, oh, there’s a siren. Can you hear it?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:07] Yeah. Katherine’s under arrest because her daughter’s just found out she’s not a virgin. She called the police on you.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:51:13] She would. And then we got chatting loads, he was so sweet. And I couldn’t believe, that was only one night stand I’d ever had in my life. I was, bring it back to shame. I was like, oh, my gosh, what have I done? But then he was such a gentleman. He didn’t play any of these games. He text me the next day. And then he came straight to England the following week and then we just started dating. And it was the easiest, most straightforward thing in the world. There was just no reason not to. And then we got married, I think, six months after that. When did we get married? So that was January. We got married in September.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:53] You’re going nine months. Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:51:55] Nine months. Yeah. So it was just very-. And that’s what I wish I had known when I was younger, is they, they say that the right relationship is easy. I didn’t realize it was that easy. There are no signs of resistance in the right relationship. It’s not, oh, well, I’d have to quit my job and I have to do this. Oh, well, you know, there’s a flood in my basement and I got-. For the right relationship, there are no excuses and you just make it work. We were fortunate that he didn’t have children or, you know, a current wife or anything at home. And it was easy. I’m in a position where we could be together. But it was just so easy. It’s still so easy. We don’t fall out. He’s just like, perfect for me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:38] Yeah. The reason we never told about that is because it wouldn’t make very good songs or films.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:52:42] I know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:43] Those two people were having a really nice time in sweatsuits. You know what I mean? Like no one wants to see, no one wants to see that film. We want to see people running in the rain. We want drama. Sometimes we want some blood. And so I think that in the name of art, we’ve destroyed everyone’s perception of what love is like. There was that film. What was it? He’s not, “He’s Just Not That Into You”, which gave me such a mind blowing moment at the beginning of the film, where from the minute in particular, little girls first receive some sort of bullying behavior from a little boy. We are always conditioned to think that that means that, we’re always explicitly told that means he likes you and that for some reason that silly film just was like a fucking explosion in my brain, where I was like, that’s what I’ve always been told. I’ve been programmed from as soon as I could understand that if someone treats you like shit, it means that they like you. It means that they care.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:53:32] Yeah. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:33] And how that programming went into me. And so I think it’s wonderful that you found just peace and, and, and joy in love. I think that’s great.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:53:40] That’s exactly what it is. It’s peace. And I feel that I’ve abandoned the single mothers that I was speaking to in my Netflix special, “Glitter Room”. But everything I said still stands. If you choose to have someone in your life because it’s that easy, then you definitely should. I was just objecting to the hundreds of years when we needed men legally to survive, when we weren’t allowed to have a bank account or carry a passport or have a mortgage without them. And even those little nursery rhymes and things we would learn in kindergarten about them kicking your books out of your hand. I mean, all of that has been ingrained in us for so long that we don’t even realize how baked into us it is.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:25] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:54:25] It’s so crazy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:26] It’s so wild. Well, yeah, I agree. Motherhood is hard enough. Nevermind with like having to look after two people, one of whom is an adult baby. And so I agree. I think only do it if you, if it, just if it enhances your life.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:54:40] Right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:41] Yeah. I think generally whether you’re a mother or not, I think that’s the only time to get to a relationship. I definitely would not be in a relationship now. I, before I met James, had said I don’t want to date anymore people ever again. That’s it. I’m 28. I’m hanging up my, hangin’ up my heels. Out of the game. And it was only because it was a relationship that genuinely added to my life in so many ways that I was like, OK, you may stay. And I hope vice versa.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:55:05] Well, that’s what I should do.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:07] Yeah, exactly.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:55:07] Yeah. It’s like they tell you not to go food shopping when you’re hungry.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:12] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:55:12] Well, you shouldn’t go man shopping when you’re thirsty.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:15] I agree. That’s so good. OK. I want to talk to you, while I still have you, about surgery.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:55:25] OK.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:25] ‘Cause there’s all this, there’s all this, because you’re so incredibly open about just cosmetic procedures and your own, your own decisions to make aesthetic differences to yourself. And what I and I think a lot of people think that I’m anti all surgery and anti all cosmetic procedures, whereas I am definitely not. I had my tits reduced and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And, um, and I love them. So I am, I am pro whatever the fuck gets you through the day and makes you feel better. The only thing I am anti is people, A, feeling like they’re not worth anything without those things. And I don’t judge those people. I judge the system that made them feel that way. I think it should be a decision you make to, you know, just make, enhance, like lipstick. You know, it’s something that should make you feel better, not something that you think that you are a worthless human being without, but also when it comes to famous people in particular. I think it’s really important that they are transparent about it. If you own up to it and you’re not setting this unrealistic beauty standard for people, that then makes them feel bad about themselves. I don’t care. Chrissy Teigen talks about it all the time. Just talked about all the procedures she, she’s done. And I love your transparency with yours. And I feel like some people would probably think that I wouldn’t be pro that, whereas I think, and or that that isn’t, some people have the misguided notion that then you are, if you, if you were to, do any of those things, then you are not feminist, and I think that you very much so proved that you are all of the things, you’re just a human. You’re layered.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:56:55] Yeah. I am definitely flawed and layered and definitely a product of my environment and society, and I absolutely know that there have been jobs where, I get them partly because of how I present myself. And I definitely have had in my contract before that I always have to have my hair down because I look less severe. That’s never been in any of Joe Rogan’s contracts. I can only guess. And I just think, I had a breast augmentation when I was very young, like 21 or 22, which I probably regret now, though, I’m really happy that I researched it and I went to this genius doctor who did such a good job. Like, I still have the same ones now and I, it could not have gone better. But the reason I am so transparent about that is because not all augmentations look like, you know, the Playboy magazines. There are some women walking around to a very, you know, quote unquote, “normal, average” bodies who’ve had things done to them. And I think it’s good to see the whole spectrum of that. And then my face. I’ve not had surgery like knives on my face, but I definitely do like peels and acids and facials. And I get Botox and fillers. And I’ve been to the right places for that kind of stuff and I’ve been to the wrong places for that kind of stuff. And I hate it when, as you say, a celebrity changes something or looks a certain way, and I don’t understand why. I don’t know why. So I don’t look like, I’m trying to give an example. You know, the family I want to say, but I don’t want your name tied to them again. And then it would be like they’re slamming them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:58] Yeah. Well, you know, I have to slam, hit and crush.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:59:01] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:01] I can never just speak reasonably about women. Go on.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:59:05] Well, I don’t look like a model. And I think it’s really important too, for people to understand that having these procedures is never gonna be a magic wand. You’re not gonna have these procedures and look like Gisele Bündchen the next day. It’s just going to-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:20] I mean, she also had surgery, but yeah, go on.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:59:21] I know. She’s also, it just tweaks either in a good way or a bad way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:30] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [00:59:30] What you already have. And my lips will always be wonky because I had silicone put in them once, in like an amateur’s basement for cash in Canada when I was 23 or 22. And that never goes away. So I talk about the stuff I like and I talk about the mistakes I’ve made, I just think it’s really important.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:50] Can I ask, just out of curiosity, why you choose like Botox and fillers? Is that because you don’t want to age? Or is it, is it like you like a certain look, you like it to look smooth? I’m just curious.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:00:04] There’s a certain look that I like. So like you, I love little cute grandmothers, but I love the way Erika Jane looks. I love the way Cher looks. I love the way Dolly Parton look. I loved the way Joan Rivers looked.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:00:19] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:00:20] I like that look. And so I’m not really going for a decade, I’m going for, like, that aesthetic.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:00:28] Aesthetic. Yeah. No, I love it. And I’m looking at you in your, in your feather, feather trimmed pajamas, silk pajamas. And I’m like, mm kay.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:00:38] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:00:38] I love it. I love the way you look.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:00:41] I know, right?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:00:41] I want to talk to you quickly before you go about just we have obviously seen this huge rise in comedians being called out, men who are in comedy being called out for their creepy pervy and sometimes kind of illegal behavior. And one of the things I think is pretty weird is the fact that so many women are being asked to comment on it as if it’s their responsibility. Are you finding this happened to you?
KATHERINE RYAN [01:01:07] Yeah. I think that it’s a tricky one because my advice from a selfish perspective to maybe a novice comedian would be staying out of it and keeping your opinions to yourself benefits you. Being an agreeable, quote unquote, “good girl”. Turning the other cheek and just focusing on your work and your standup and not being difficult benefits you. But it doesn’t benefit anyone else. So there was certainly a time in my career, early on, where it’s like, really, what is the use commenting on some of these inequalities? Because you just get labeled whiny or a problem and you’re not influential.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:02] Or a bit much, like me.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:02:04] Or-. Is that what they say? You’re a bit much. But haven’t you heard? Who was it? Whitney Cummings said, if you think I’m a bit much, maybe you’re just not enough. Too little.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:14] Yeah, I love that line. Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:02:15] Or too little. Yeah. So now I’m at a position where I think I have more freedom in the jobs I choose. I tour on my own so I don’t need to be welcomed onto a bill. So I do speak about the discrepancies that I’ve seen. But it’s this real Catch 22, because women are already considered, you know, generally we are considered across the board less funny. By both, you know, men and women and all genders, will just, are happy to say women are less funny. And then it’s like, well, why are you mad? Well, why are you whining about? Well, why are you so angry? And it’s like when your little sister takes your arm and goes, so stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself. And it’s like all we’re doing. I mean, I’m not. All we’re doing is observing. And if these other comedians, our counterparts can’t just observe the same things that we’re seeing, you’re meant to be observing. You’re a comedian. It’s sort of the Jerry Seinfeld, what’s the deal with airplane food? All we’re really saying is, hey, what’s the deal with the rape culture in my industry?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:03:23] Mmhmm.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:03:23] It’s like we’re just commenting on. And I think that’s OK to go. Well, this is definitely different. And I, I shared this piece. I think an American comedian was joking about a woman giving him a blowjob to get stage time and how he really broke her down. It ruined her life. She left L.A. with dirty fingernails or something. And this was a joke. Everyone’s commenting, oh, he’s only joking. He’s a really nice guy. He’s only joking. But it’s like those are the people, the fans of that type of-, that’s always the joke. So the joke is I exist in an industry where women are largely regarded as like sex holes. That’s always the joke. And on bills, it’ll be man, man, man, man, man, man, man, one woman, if it’s any more women than that. Until very recently. Then that wasn’t acceptable, oh it was too female heavy. So, you know, I’ve had a very easy time in comedy. I’ve been very lucky, as I say. But that’s not discounting the fact that I have listened to comedian after comedian after comedian, in my experience, especially in America, degrade women. That’s the joke. And then it’s my turn. So there’s just something about that that you have to notice. You have to go. Well, all right. But we’re just noticing and all their fans go, we’ll stop trying to cancel the guy that we love. It’s like, well, I’m not going to cancel anybody. I’m just saying, look, look at that, this is how it is.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:57] Is that OK? Is that acceptable? Why are we doing that? Is it laziness that we can’t just shift and change and make people feel a bit more safe in this fucking industry? Well, I’m very glad that you have prevailed all the way to the very top through all of that gross culture. And I’m so grateful for you coming on today and talking to me about all these deeply personal things. And I love you so much. And before we go, will you just tell me, Katherine Ryan, what do you weigh?
KATHERINE RYAN [01:05:22] Oh, oh, gosh, not a lot. I’m very, my BMI, by your standards, is low. I weigh a career that I really love.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:05:40] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:05:40] Really love. I weigh a daughter whom I really think is exceptional. And I look up to and whose time and company I really enjoy. I weigh properties that, I was the first woman in my family to buy property by herself. And I, again, I’ve closed on pedestal feminism once again. But fuck those other bitches. It wasn’t my grandma’s fault. Like, my grandma wouldn’t have been allowed to buy a house. So, I mean, I had a head start. And I weigh like I think I have a nice rapport with, I like my audiences. I think they’re good people. Do you know what I mean? My audiences aren’t in Whitney Cummings’ DMs threatening her. They’re just like nice.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:06:32] Yeah.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:06:35] Dogs. Can you do dogs?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:06:37] Yeah, you can do dogs. You can weigh anything you like, anything you feel like. Anything that, you weigh the sum of all your parts. Do you also weigh a 75 year old daughter? Emotionally.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:06:48] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:06:52] She’s a little old Indian woman. That’s what she is.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:06:55] She is.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:06:56] When I see her, that’s who I, that’s who I feel like I’m with. Spiritually.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:06:58] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:06:59] Well, thank you. Thank you for your contribution to women in comedy. As you once said about, what did you say about-? Was it, when you were like Amy Schumer could be raping me right now, is that what you said? Or could be fisting me.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:07:12] Oh, I said, oh, I was talking about, actually, and this was brought up again in Drew Dixon’s “On the Record” documentary. Have you seen that?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:07:20] No, I haven’t.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:07:22] It’s about Russell Simmons. But she explained very eloquently how a lot of black women are in this position where they’ve seen just the pillaging of black men and they feel this instinct to protect them. But then when something happens to them, they also, they’re sort of trapped between like, well, do I stand up for myself as a woman having been assaulted or do I protect these black men? And no one protects black women. So she was talking about that. That’s actually what I was talking about with Bill Cosby accusers. I talked about how they were black women, he was a really successful black man at that time who’d done so much for visibility of, you know, a positive black dad on television, the biggest guy on television. So they were stuck and they were like, oh, God, well, I don’t want to go against him, but I do need to speak my own truth. And then I said, I understand as a female comedian what that’s like because Amy Schumer could be wearing me like a watch.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:08:21] That’s what you said.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:08:22] And I’d have to be like, thank you for everything you’ve done for women in our industry. So it’s like a dark subject, but that’s what I was talking about.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:08:32] Yeah. Well, thank you for coming on this podcast today. Thank you for being such a joy. And thank you for having entertained me up close and from afar for almost a decade now. I love you loads, and it’s really nice to see your face.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:08:44] I love you. Thank you for blessing me with your chat.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:08:47] I’ll speak to you soon. Lots of love.
KATHERINE RYAN [01:08:49] Bye. Bye bye.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:08:51] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s “I Weigh”. I would also like to thank the team, which helps me make this podcast. My producers, Sophia Jennings and Kimmie Lucas. My editor, Andrew Carson. My boyfriend, James Blake, who made the beautiful music you are hearing now. And me, for my work. At “I Weigh”, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543. Or e-mail us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And remember, it’s not in pounds and kilos, it’s your social contributions to society, or just how you define yourself in life. Here’s is a little message from one of our “I Weigh” listeners: I weigh my empathy, my role as a stay at home parent. Persistence, public service and current effort in running for State Assembly.
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