2 min

Proud FM’s Richard Ryder, the pride of Toronto

On the air with Toronto’s busiest drag bear

Richard Ryder is a man who wears many hats, quite literally. Credit: Proud FM

A quick chat with Richard Ryder, the host of Proud FM’s weekday morning show Rise with Ryder, reveals that not only is Ryder a radio announcer, but also a comic, a ghost hunter and Toronto’s busiest drag bear. Even without the potato chips he’s given up as part of a new year’s resolution, it’s safe to say Ryder has a lot on his plate.

From Monday to Friday (6–11am) Ryder is on the air and making friends before most of us have even contemplated getting out of bed. In between the Cher, Adele, and Justin Bieber, you’ll hear Ryder take on some of the day’s hottest topics.

And while the Proud FM office is buzzing with energy, there’s one place you definitely don’t want to find yourself — Ryder’s list.

Putting his comedic background to use Ryder confronts the sources of evil, injustice or just mild inconvenience, and aims to take them down a peg. If ever there was an attempt to dispel the stereotype of the bitchy gay, Ryder’s list certainly isn’t it.

Repeat offenders include the TTC and the Catholic Church, but Ryder jokes that nobody is off-limits.

Rise with Ryder is a full-time gig on its own, but only takes up a fraction of Ryder’s week. At night he trades in the sound booth for the stage as a stand-up comic. On weekends you can regularly find him performing at Yuk Yuk’s, corporate gigs or all across Ontario.

Even more intriguing are Ryder’s roles at OUTtv. As host of Knock Knock Ghost, Ryder travels the country searching for proof of the afterlife. In addition, he’s the man behind Wilma Fingerdoo and her weekly recap of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Each week, Ryder receives advance copies of episodes for his recap. Last year’s videos featured Wilma in handcrafted headpieces that were themed to the challenge of each week’s episode.

It’s clear Wilma isn’t your typical drag queen. “She’s not a drag queen, she’s a drag bear. I’m in drag from the tits up and a bear from the tits down.” Ryder says.

RuPaul has even listed Wilma as one of his favourite “RuCappers,” and the videos have garnered attention from Drag Race contestants. As a result, Ryder has been able to interview former queens such as Sharon Needles and Bianca Del Rio, both as Wilma and as himself for Proud FM.

“I’m not sure what I want to do with Wilma this year, but every year I try to push it,” Ryder explains. With an already packed schedule it’s tough to imagine what projects he’ll take on next. For now, he’ll be ready for you, helping make your day a little more fabulous.