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Katherine Ryan quit Mock the Week over ‘pedestal feminism’ booking system for women

‘I was always taking a job away from one of my female peers’

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 30 June 2020 10:20 BST
Katherine Ryan In Trouble trailer Netflix

Comedian Katherine Ryan has revealed that she stopped appearing on Mock the Week because she felt that she was taking work away from other female comedians.

Discussing her experiences as a woman in comedy on her podcast Telling Everybody Everything, the Canadian stand-up discussed a certain type of “pedestal feminism” where one woman is allowed to excel and used as an impossible standard for other women.

“That happens to me in this country and I don’t appreciate it,” Ryan said. “I love Mock The Week, I love Dara [Ó Briain], I think that that show has given a platform for so many British comedians.

“But I had to stop doing it because I knew that every time I was booked on that show I was taking food out of the mouth of another woman. I was never taking James Acaster‘s spot, I was never taking Ed Gamble‘s spot on that show, I was always 100 per cent of the time taking a job away from one of my female peers.”

Ryan continued: “I thought, ‘OK, I’ve had my time on this show, I have to give it to someone else.’ As much as I love to do it, it really helped me open up a fresh audience, I loved to go on there and play with all the other comics... but I couldn’t do it anymore because of that fact alone.”

In reference to critics who use her to prove that “Mock the Week doesn’t have a problem with women”, the comedian said: “Nuh-uh. And now they will let two of us on in the same week. I wasn’t allowed to do the stand-up round apart from once. And they always made us sit in the same chair… in case, what, one of us menstruated?”

Mock the Week has aired on BBC Two since 2005, with episodes containing satirical news commentary, improvisation and stand-up challenges.

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

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