Comedian Chris Ryan On Her Big Hair And Big Dreams

Published in Comedy  
Chris Ryan Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan probably wouldn't be doing 'Big Hair, Big Dreams' if any of the big plans she had when she was little had worked out.

She may be in her late 40s, but she's honestly also 15.

Chris's take on everything from romance to passive-aggressive co-workers has landed her in the Galas of Sydney and Canberra Comedy Festivals, as well as Floriade Nightfest and TEDx Canberra. . . Not to mention shows from Darwin to Tasmania through regional New South Wales and Queensland with the Sydney Comedy Festival showcase tour.

If your dreams have come true, this probably isn't the show for you. Here, we have a chat to Sydney Comedy Festival 2019's Best Newcomer winner about her show 'Big Hair, Big Dreams'.

So... What WAS your dream as a kid?
I had at least four a day: become an air hostess, go to Fame school, go to the Olympics for gymnastics.

You've obviously had pretty big success as a comedian. Why do you enjoy it?
The idea of working in an office depresses me. I once didn't want to go to work so much that I prayed for a catastrophic event. Sorry about 2020, I guess I went a bit far. Despite the lack of stability – financial or otherwise – comedy seems to be a spectacularly silly way to spend your time as a mature woman and I'm here for that.

Was there a moment that stands out in your life when you decided to pursue comedy? What happened?
After years of invisibility as a new mum, stuck in the suburbs with two babies who couldn't speak English, comedy seemed an eminently rational choice (I'm not saying English is the best language, I just don't thing babies should be allowed to make up whatever they like). To finally be seen and heard seemed a joyous luxury. I entered RAW Comedy in 2012 as a deadline to write to. I won the Canberra heat, then went on to suck at the NSW State Final. I found the infuriating challenge of comedy something that I could imagine keeping me challenged and alive in my life and at 38 that was a surprise.

What has been the #1 thing you've learned in this career?
Run your own race, amplify diverse, minority voices and be happy for everyone's wins. Unless they are a total cockhead. Then, just run your own race.

Now that you've had experience with it, what advice would you give an up-and-coming comedian wanting to make it big?
If you ask someone you respect for their advice or opinion, listen to their response. Record your sets, listen for laughs and silence. Like a conversation, if it's one-sided you're doing it wrong.

Describe your style of comedy in one word.

And what can audiences expect to see from this show?
A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing. Wait, that was Shakespeare. Pretty much that, but funnier than 'Macbeth'.

Chris Ryan plays Regal Theatre (Perth Comedy Festival) 7 May and Factory Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival) 12-16 May.



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