Diva’s diaries revealed

Kirsten Van Ritzen launches The Comedy Diva Diaries, Dec. 7

Comedian and actor Kirsten Van Ritzen

A beer bottle hurtles past your head, you’re heckled off stage and your income relies on landing a part in a cringe-worthy commercial. Life for a standup comedian can be brutal, but for everyone else, it’s hilarious.

Comedian, actor, writer and producer Kirsten Van Ritzen hopes her fellow comics aren’t regularly dodging projectiles or the caustic outcries of drunken hecklers, but she knows the anecdotes in her debut book will hit particularly close to home for those with whom she shares the standup spotlight. The Comedy Diva Diaries, officially launched today, chronicles the struggles of a 29-year-old comedienne who imposes an ultimatum: get famous by her next birthday, or die trying.

Van Ritzen makes it clear, that although she may share a hair colour and profession with the generally unlikeable protagonist Comedy Diva, the similarities end there. The career-obsessed narcissist’s diaries are a complete work of fiction, an outlet the performer first discovered while writing a satirical blog under the same name 10 years ago while living in Toronto.

“I was going to a lot of auditions, going to improv and comedy shows and occasionally things go wrong,” Van Ritzen says. “The casting director says something mean to you or the other actor blows their lines and you can’t say anything about it because that’s just career suicide. You have to be gracious and not even mention that you might have just made six-months rent on an American commercial for deli meat.”

Diaries is a variation on old-style chick lit, but instead of following an “adorkable” character choose between men, learn some life lessons and walk down the aisle, it showcases an acid-tongued and unlikeable woman not fretting about men, but instead obsessing about her career path.

“The fun of playing a character and writing as a character, is that you can say and do the things that you could never do in real life.”

Van Ritzen, an adept character comic has taken on countless such roles over the years, perhaps most recognizably in Victoria for her work acting in and producing Sin City, a live improvised soap opera. Though she’s garnered much attention for her writing in 2012 – her play All My Day Jobs, which debuted at the 2011 Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, was selected for publication in an anthology of plays, had an excerpt published in a major national newspaper, and is currently being produced (selections) by a Winnipeg-based theatre company – penning The Comedy Diva Diaries has been a completely new challenge.

“In live performance, you get that immediate feedback. People laugh or don’t laugh – maybe cry if it’s a play. There’s something interesting about having written something that goes from my brain to my computer and now it’s printed in a permanent way, for other people to read.”

Van Ritzen humbly labels the work “fluffy commercial genre entertainment” – yet it’s the product of support and encouragement from both her husband, author Ian Ferguson, and her brother-in-law, recent Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson, who provided feedback on an early draft of the book.

“I still say I’m an actor first because I’m around people who are real writers and that’s their craft and they’ve won amazing awards. I’m not setting out to compete with any other writer in the world.”

She’s too busy with her next set of projects: co-producing a live television series for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network; acting in Langham Court Theatre’s production of That Face; taking the stage in Sin City; and leading acting and comedy classes. For Van Ritzen, none of those endeavours have involved ultimatums.

“I never set out to pursue fame or fortune,” she says. “Fortune would be awesome if it came my way, but the idea of being chased by paparazzi has absolutely no appeal to me at all. I’d rather do small, interesting projects that I care about with people that I like.”

Van Ritzen launches The Comedy Diva Diaries, Dec. 7 at the Ramada Victoria, 123 Gorge Rd. E. Van Ritzen will read excerpts from her book, between performances by some of her favourite local comics. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5, with book sales for $15 (cash only).

 

Just Posted

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read