Stevie Ryan, one of the first YouTubers to score her own comedy series on TV, has died. She was 33.
Ryan, born June 2, 1984, and raised in Victorville, Calif., moved to Los Angeles at age 19 to pursue a career in show business. After booking various commercial projects, her YouTube videos caught the eye of New Wave Dynamics back in 2010. They developed Ryan’s videos into a sketch comedy series, Stevie TV, which aired from 2012-2013 on VH1. She later co-hosted a talk show, Sex with Brody, for E! with Brody Jenner and Dr. Mike Dow in 2015.
At the time of her death, Ryan was co-hosting a new podcast about depression and mental illness, Mentally Ch(ill), with fellow comedian and actress Kristen Carney.
In an episode last week, recorded just a couple of hours after Ryan’s closest family member, her grandfather, had died, Ryan worried about how it’d affect her: “This is just a part of life, but I’m just worried that this is going to send me into a deeper depression, or maybe it’ll take me out of my depression a little bit to see that life is short, and that we just don’t actually have as much time as we think we do with people that we love and care about.” But she wanted to keep doing Mentally Ch(ill), she said, because: “For me, it’s about being vulnerable and open.” Carney said last week that they’d recorded an episode about suicide last month that they’d have to redo “because our sound was all screwed up.” Carney asked Ryan: “I wonder if this will change your perspective on suicide.”
Ryan had served jury duty the previous day, told Carney and their audience she was off of her anti-depressants, going through her period, and about to try TMS therapy the following day.
On Saturday, she was found dead, having taken her own life.
Brian Volk-Weiss, who helped Ryan develop Stevie TV, called her “one of the most talented people I’ve ever met.”
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One of the most talented people I've ever met took her own life on Friday. I don't know exactly what to say except the world is now deprived of her creativity, and my thoughts go out to her family. Rarely has the term RIP meant as much as it does for Stevie Ryan, and I truly hope you've found it. I had a lot of fun working with you. "It just all adds up." #stevieryan #ripstevie #bathtub
Carney posted on Facebook: “This is Stevie. She and I have been hosting a podcast for the past 4 months together on depression called Mentally Ch(ill). We started it to have a real, lighthearted, funny and yet vulnerable conversation about struggling with depression, something that so many of us deal with and talk so little about. She was hilarious, vibrant, beautiful, sassy, genuine and unique to the core. Very rarely do people make an impact on me let alone the way Stevie did. I’m honored that I got to know her so well and she’ll be with me as I continue to fight to move forward. If you guys don’t know her, please look her up. She was so, so special. And will be so, so missed.”
Back in 2012, I wrote that “Stevie Ryan has a compelling screen presence and an ability to impersonate many of today’s pop stars and celebutards that populate the basic cable landscape,” which you could see in sketches such as a Toddlers & Tiaras parody that co-starred Amber Ruffin.
Yesterday, Carney posted a special episode of Mentally Ch(ill) about the “messed-up shit” going on in real life, talking about Ryan’s suicide and more.
If you need help, please ask for it. Many of us may feel like we’re alone at times, or even alone all of the time, but none of us are or have to be alone, ever. You can count on other people and professionals to know what you’re going through, as well as how to get through it.
The National Alliance for Mental Illness has links to local resources. New York City has a program called NYC Well. Here’s the hub for Los Angeles County mental health.