At Home with Katherine Lynch

Katherine Lynch has divided the nation with her challengingly fresh approach to comedy via her Wonderwomen and Working Girls sketches on the telly.

It’s a long way from the rural tranquility of Mohill, Leitrim to the cosy Dublin surrounds of Portobello Bridge where Irish comedian Katherine Lynch can watch the swans on the Grand Canal from the balcony of her two-bedroom apartment. “I’ve been here about a year,” she explains. “My life tends to be quite chaotic so this makes a really peaceful retreat for me. The place was built in the ‘70s. It has nice thick walls. Even though the streets are noisy at times, the apartment itself is very quiet.”

It’s also a convenient location for Lynch’s social and work demands. “I walk a lot. I love walking by the canal to clear the head after crazy evenings of mad comedy. This is a gorgeous area to live in. I have offices in Temple Bar with costume rooms that are floor-to-ceiling with feather boas, hats and stuff from the TV series. I can easily walk there from my apartment. It’s also handy for getting to RTÉ and venues like Whelan’s and The Village and Jo Burger!”

Her apartment’s central location is also convenient when mates from the comedy scene want to drop by. “When my show was being shown on telly on a Monday night, people like Brendan Courtney and Brian Kennedy called around to watch it. We’ve been friends for years. They’re not just my friends now because I have a show on TV! So it can be a perky place when I want it to be,” she says.

She has a deep fascination with shoes, although generally speaking she’s neither a hoarder nor a collector. “I listen to some music, but I don’t have a collection of records as such. I tend to give things away when I’ve finished with them and be a bit minimalistic as regards possessions. I used to have records by people like Alison Moyet and Adam Ant but I gave them to Oxfam when I moved.”

When she watches TV she obviously goes for a lot of comedy, but when she wants a break from that world she often turns to art-house movies. “The last good movie I watched here was Blood And Wine with Jack Nicholson, although it wasn’t his best. Pan’s Labyrinth was really brilliant. The director Guillermo Del Toro also directed Hellboy which I thought I’d never watch, but I did and it was terrific too. I have a few DVDs. I’m not an avid collector, but I recently bought a collection of Only Fools And Horses. I have Blood Diamond and Spinal Tap. I bought Little Miss Sunshine but I gave it away to a friend. When I listen to radio I listen mainly to Lyric FM. There’s not much comedy on Lyric, but great music.”

Are there are any comedy shows she’d really like to be in? “I love Little Britain and Fawlty Towers and I’d love to have had a part in any programme like those, or indeed anything by Mike Leigh. I like dark comedy as well as the lighter stuff.”

She likes books too. “I particularly loved the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and I thought his A Thousand Splendid Suns was even better, maybe because it dealt with the harrowing lives of women under that kind of Islamic fundamentalism,” she says.

While she admits that the main cookery smells in the apartment are most likely to come from takeaways, the Leitrim comedian loves to have flowers in her apartment. “I adore lilies, but you might also get the whiff of the Indian curries and pizzas I get delivered to my door. My brother is staying with me at the moment after coming back from Australia and he cooks galore. I suppose his specialty is pasta. He really makes the dishes taste delicious, with paprika and other spices.”

In spite of her self-confessed love for minimalism she can’t claim all the credit for the pristine tidiness of her abode. “I have a cleaner who comes in and does a great job,” she confesses.

Lynch clearly has an eye for the visual arts. She takes photographs herself and develops them in a dark room in her office in Temple Bar. She also paints here in the apartment. She says: “I’m actually rubbish at painting, but I find it very therapeutic. I’ve put some of my work on the walls, and people have said they’re nice but they’ve seen better! I have a lovely photograph by John Nash hanging up too, and one of a castle in Glendalough, I think, by my cousin. I’ve just bought a piece by the street artist Will St Leger called Washday which I’ve put in a place I have in the south of France. It’s equipped with a small studio. I visit as often as I can and when life gets to be too much for me.”

Her relatively sparse collection of ornaments includes a little old Buddha and some fine Chinese tables. But her minimalism even applies to her Christmas decorations, with but a modest tree and a chorus line of choir boys on top of the telly. The apparent absence of life in her two window-boxes would also suggest she’s not a creature consumed by the gardening habit.

But where in the world would she choose to live if she had an unlimited choice? After considered thought, with Thailand making it onto the short list, she opts for New York. “I think I’d love New York. It’s a great place for excitement and for lots of partying.”

Katherine Lynch will feature in Katherine Lynch’s Christmas Roast on RTÉ TV on St Stephen’s Day.

 

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