Jon Ryan chuckles when he walks the streets of Spokane and sees the message emanating from Spokane Transit Authority vehicles.
“It’s so cool when you see the bus go by and it says ‘Go Seahawks,’ ” the former Seattle punter said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “What other city that’s a four and half hour drive from a NFL team’s stadium roots for that team? I love that Spokane loves the Seahawks. When I go to Portland, Spokane or northern Idaho, I’m surrounded by Seahawk fans. I think the Seahawks should be the Pacific Northwest Seahawks like the Patriots are the New England Patriots.”
Ryan, 41, isn’t joking. The longtime football pro, who recently retired from the Canadian Football League, leaves comedy to his wife, Sarah Colonna, who will perform Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club.
“Sometimes I talk about Jon when I’m onstage but he’s fine with it,” Colonna said on the same call as her husband. “But I talk about much more than that.”
Colonna, who has a new set of material, is adept at delivering stories, which are relatable. Colonna is at her funniest spinning yarns about dating and marriage. “I’ve always believed that if you can tell your own story as a comic, it will always be unique,” Colonna said. “No one has my story and I think people can connect with it.”
The Colonna/Ryan saga sounds like a Lifetime movie. “I hope someday someone makes it into a film,” Ryan said. “ ‘The Punter Finds the Comic.’ It would make for a fun movie. Everything that happened in the 10 years with the Seahawks was wild. It was incredible winning the Super Bowl a decade ago. But the best part of being in Washington and with the Seahawks was meeting my wife through the Seahawks. There’s no story quite like ours.”
The first Saskatchewan native to win a Super Bowl pursued Colonna, 47, before ever meeting her. The former Seahawks captain asked a mutual friend, comic Ross Mathews, if he would set them up for a date. “After seeing me on ‘Chelsea Lately,’ Jon and I started talking and texting just before the Seahawks won the Super Bowl (in 2013),” Colonna said. “When the Seahawks won he was sending me pictures from the field,” Colonna said. “I thought that it was insane. Here’s a guy who doesn’t even really know me and he’s sharing this huge life event that’s once in a lifetime for most football players and we hadn’t even met yet.”
Colonna, who grew up in Arkansas, became a diehard Seahawks aficionado and a fan of the Evergreen state. “Thanks to Jon I got to know Washington,” Colonna said. “People are so cool throughout the entire state. There’s such a great vibe there. With Jon people would come up to him on the street and thank him for being part of the Seahawks team.”
Much like Ryan, who spent 10 seasons with the Seahawks and who recently retired from the Canadian Football League, Colonna has a strong work ethic. When the earthy humorist isn’t cracking wise from a stage, she’s acting or writing books. Colonna has appeared on such television shows as “Monk,” “The United States of Tara” and “Battle Creek.”
Colonna has penned a pair of books, 2012’s “Life As I Blow It: Tales of Love, Life & Sex … Not Necessarily in That Order” and 2015’s “Has Anyone Seen My Pants?” Fans know how provocative, surprising and funny Colonna can be when it comes to relationships.
“I enjoy the books,” Colonna said. “It’s another way of expressing myself. I love stand-up but I like to do other things as well.”
Colonna, who broke thanks to “Chelsea Lately,” is appreciative of her pal, Chelsea Handler. “I love Chelsea, who is so direct, smart and funny,” Colonna said. “The cool thing is that she is the same girl I knew when I met her when I was 23. Chelsea has a heart of gold.”
Colonna and Ryan say the same about his former Seahawk teammate, the polarizing quarterback Russell Wilson. The future Hall of Famer is struggling during his first year with the Denver Broncos but Ryan believes Wilson will return to form next season.
“That talent that Russell has is not gone,” Ryan said. “Russell is in a system that’s not working for him. I bet he wins Comeback Player of the Year and goes to the Pro Bowl next year. Russell was always kind to us. He’s a good guy.”
Ryan, who co-hosts the entertaining and informative podcast, “Seahawks Hang Time” with Greg Woodman, will pose for photos with Colonna and sign autographs after the shows at the Spokane Comedy Club. “I love to do that,” Ryan said. “It’s fun but not as much fun as watching Sarah perform. She’s got such a great sense of humor. I’m a huge fan of her comedy, but I might be a little biased.”
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