Chris Ryan Loves Saying What She Wants To Say

Chris Ryan
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Chris Ryan’s muse floated towards her over the heads of her audience mid-set one night: gently, unexpectedly, in the form of a burp.

This award-winning, now Sydney-based comedian recognised the whisper of a muse when she heard it.

It was the burp as much as her whip-tongue response, that stirred something for Ryan.

“What surprises me and what I think my show, this year, reveals is that whilst I may look like a middle-aged, responsible, parent, um, that looks probably a bit conservative,” Chris says, “I have a big rage in me.”

“So I open the show talking about what happened in that exchange and I said something to [the man that burped] that was pretty much reprehensible.”

Ryan shares her response, off the record.

“It’s too mean [to share here],” she says. “You have to be in the room to hear it. . .”

But it's golden. Straight acid, delivered from the depths of her subconscious, where for that moment, she joined the audience in hearing it for the first time too.

“It comes out sometimes – without me being able to control it, even though I'm aware of it.”

And now, the world has ‘Good-O’. Named for her dad’s go-to saying, ‘Good-O’ is Ryan’s new hour of comedy. It builds on her reputation as a dry, laconic comedian, delivering acid wit and astute insight.

“I'm looking at why we do bad things and how you know, gosh, I'm taking stock at 50: why am I still getting in trouble?

“I must still be doing the wrong thing? I should be able to know what's happening!”

“So ‘Good-O’ is looking at dad’s philosophy and approach to life, and my mum's, and where I sit in that spectrum between them.”

Ryan found her way to comedy from the thick of new motherhood and the sense of living invisibly in the suburbs. Her shows stitch comedy and life’s revelations together in a way that feels intimate; relatable.

“I just want someone to listen to what I’ve got to say,” Chris says.

The guy who burped inspiration into Ryan’s life that two months back also, delightfully, shouted out “show us yer tits”, which Ryan suggested felt like the time her own mum offered, “why don't you do a dance?”

“I'm like,', do you know how disappointing it is that you’d rather watch me dance like a monkey than listen to the contents of my head?

“Is that where we’re at?”

In the heat of the moment, when the room is full-tilt and laughing at all the jokes, is she ever tempted?

To this, Chris lets out a belly laugh down the line, it morphs gently into the early moments of a frustrated groan then back to polite laughter. . .

“I’m not answering that.”

“It's liberating to be able to say what you want to say. . . This is the best job in the world, as much as I bitch about it.”

2024 also sees Ryan hit the road on a national regional tour opening for one of her original comedy heroes, Judith Lucy.

“Judith is like the first person I ever paid for to go and see in comedy and to get tapped on the shoulder by her is just like, f... yeah, brilliant.”

Chris Ryan plays The Greek (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) until 21 April, Enmore Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival) 25-28 April, Regal Theatre (Perth Comedy Festival) 3 May and Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival) 18-19 May.

Words: Alison Mooney

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