I was lucky enough to catch up with Katherine Ryan ahead of the new series of Safeword which returns for a second series next week on ITV2. Katherine Ryan and David Morgan are the team captains on the outrageously competitive panel show that pushes celebrities to their limits. The only thing that can save them is if they use their Safeword to make it all stop. The new series an be seen on Thursday evenings at 10pm from June 2nd.
The show can be quite humiliating for those being roasted, is there any areas of their lives you wouldn’t touch?
We don’t speak about people’s children, it is sort of the same rule in stand up as it is on Safeword. Nothing is off limits as long as it’s funny, so if someone had an illness or something really terrible happen in their lives it wouldn’t be funny to joke about that. It is not fair to bring people’s family lives into it but that is not so much a rule but is just a general moral code for all comedians anyway. Other than that nothing is completely off limits. We talk about any sort of criminal history that they might have had and some of their best achievements we will tear apart as well.
Sinitta wasn’t happy following her appearance on the last series, why do you think that was?
I think that what Safeword does really well is it exposes the true nature of a celebrity. It is something that you might not see when their image is constructed in a television show that maybe they are acting in. On Safeword that is who they really are and a lot of celebrities come out really well showing that they can laugh at themselves and they can take the mick whilst other celebrities are actually quite precious and that unfortunately comes out on Safeword too.
Why do you think the viewers love the show?
I think there is a tendency in British culture that people will take the mick out of each other behind someone’s back. We are always taking the mick but behind closed doors and Safeword puts it right out there. It is not something that celebrities haven’t heard before but the show is popular because there aren’t any other roast style series in the UK at the minute. I think it is far more kind to say something out loud than to be sneaky about it and maybe bury it in a tabloid.
How do you think you would cope if you were the person being roasted?
I would love it. I really thought I would be roasted much more harshly but everyone is afraid of me. I love it and I think it as an honour but I see it from a North American perspective. To take the amount of time to research someone properly and present it in a monologue to that celebrity's face is a great honour and I can’t wait for the day that somebody roasts me. The only time I would feel guilty is if I did it rushed last minute and if I didn’t do justice to that celebrity. When the roast is written well and the harsher it is I think the more of a compliment it is.
Are there any changes to the format for the second series?
We had categories last time and we felt a little bit limited and now it is just a free for all and there is no theme.
Is it easier to roast someone you dislike?
Because a roast is not meant to be hateful, I’d be more interested to get celebrities that are a little bit managed and you don’t get to see unhinged like someone I really respect and admire for example Amanda Holden. I feel like she is elevated to the point that I would love to see more of her. I think the bigger the celebrity the more they get protected. Nicole Scherzinger I worked with and she is gorgeous and so talented but I don’t think a lot of people see behind the scenes of a major celeb. So hopefully if our series continues we will get bigger and bigger celebrities.
Who can we expect to see on the second series?
Carol Vorderman who was an amazing guest to have as we love and respect her and she was an example of a person I was pleased to roast from a point of admiration.