Pop-Culture Diet: Katie-Ellen Humphries

The standup and sketch comedian finds solace in baseball books and Teen Vogue. 

July 27, 2018

By Vancouver Magazine / Photo: Amber Marlow (portrait)

(Photo: Amber Marlow.)

The razor-sharp Katie-Ellen Humphries has made a name for herself as one of Canada’s top standup comedians, with appearances at CBC’s Winnipeg and Halifax comedy festivals and frequent contributions to The Debaters, but her roots are in sketch and theatre. It’s why you’ll often find her putting the mic aside to spend time in the writers room of The Lady Show, where she and fellow funny feminists Morgan Brayton, Diana Bang and Fatime Dhowre craft silly-smart sketches for their semi-regular live comedy variety show, delving into all of today’s most pressing issues: women’s rights, race relations and dancing tampons.

This summer, Humphries is busy prepping for the Lady Show’s Vancouver Fringe Festival run this fall, but when she’s between rehearsals and stand-up sets, here are the pop-culture pieces she’s digging into.

What I’m reading…

Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of BaseballYou’ll Grow Out of ItGQ and Teen Vogue

I feel like I’m reading one third of an ever-increasing list of books. I’m a wickedly slow reader and don’t dedicate anywhere close to enough time to it. The biggest lie I tell myself is how much I’ll read when I’m on the road for shows. My books are well-traveled if not read. I’m currently reading Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball. I am fascinated by minor league baseball and it is Vancouver Canadians season right now so I’m all in on it. I read a lot of essay collections/memoirs; a recent fav was You’ll Grow Out of It by writer/comedian Jessi Klein which, like a lot of Klein’s work, I found super funny and interesting and, at times, painfully relatable.

The two publications that I read consistently are the print version of GQ every month and online articles by Teen Vogue, which pretty perfectly sums up me and my sensibility as a well-heeled gentleman/adolescent girl.

What I’m listing to…

The Risk podcast and the In the Heights soundtrack

I love a story-telling podcast. A consistent go-to for me is RISK: True Tales Boldly Told. I’m inspired by the courage, vulnerability and humour of the storytellers. The stories are always entertaining and sometimes incredibly moving, or enlightening or hilarious or gross and often all of those things at once. The show has taped a couple of live episodes in Vancouver and will be back September 8th. Local storytellers can check the Risk website to submit to perform.

At some point pretty much every day (through the magic of “shuffle”) I will listen of at least part of the Cast Recording of the Broadway musical In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I just ordered a special 10th anniversary remastered vinyl album that I’m real excited about and it’s certain to get a lot of play.

What I’m streaming…

Brooklyn 99, Kim’s Convenience and wedding dress shows

I am catching up on Season 5 of Brooklyn 99 and season one of Kim’s Convenience, both on Netflix. Aside from that I mostly watch wedding dress shows or weird BBC reality series where a very dry narrator tells you about “age gap love” or “real life wife swap” in quiet, cloudy U.K. towns without a hint of judgement or salaciousness. Often I want the elevator music of TV. It’s there and it’s somehow comforting, but also you hardly notice it. Get outta here with your Game of Thrones or whatever.

What I leave the house for…

Quiz Show and Talent Time

If I’m not working (or walking around quietly humming upbeat musicals to myself), leaving the house is a tall order, but Graham Clark’s Quiz Show at Fox Cabaret and Paul Anthony’s Talent Time at The Rio (it’s not on right now but should be back again soon) have my number. Both shows are so special and such incredibly unique, insane labours of love by those respective hosts who we’re so lucky to have working in the city. You’ll never see the same show twice and every show is something spectacular. Quiz Show returns in September and you can catch Talent Time streaming now on Amazing Prime.

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