Pam Ann returns to Perth next month with a brand new show Around the World. OUTinPerth spoke to Pam on the line from her hotel room during a break of her tour of Canada. In a whirlwind conversation we talked about the importance of playing gay sex clubs, talking porn with Elton John, her thoughts on Chelsea Handler and Cher defending the importance of being able to say ‘c**k sucking choral lip gloss’.
What’s the most unexpected performance you’ve had?
I guess my favourite was Paris, everyone was saying to me ‘How is it going to work? I do not understand’. I had such low expectations of it, when I went out and performed it went amazing and they do all speak English and they got the show. It was magic! I mean you have maybe four of these magic ones a year. They’re like gold dust. Where everything works, the audience are amazing, the jokes work. Everything comes our way it is like winning gold, and that was the one of the most unexpected, fabulous show I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed it.
As far as shows that didn’t go well. It would have to probably be in Dubai where I did a corporate event and when I came out they thought I was a stripper… It just doesn’t work with those really hetero beefed up guys… They have different things on their mind, and I mean there were so many Russian hookers in that place. I mean Dubai in itself is one big drug fest and it was like ‘Oh my god, get me out of here’. My main audience is gay and this was the biggest straight f**king crowd I have seen. It was scary; it was like I was Jodie Foster in The Accused.
Is it hard to find a distinct gay audience? We often hear that it’s all becoming a bit generic, too many straight people in gay clubs. Do they come out to your shows? Is that where we’ll find them?
If you want ‘gay’ come to my show, and you know what, I love it. I have a lot of women too, and cabin crew. But you know me and my gays – I’m so at home if I see five rows of gays. It’s just a comfort to me.
I was reading that you’d been compared to Dame Edna, Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler. How do you feel about these comparisons?
Well I can’t compare to Dame Edna who is my absolute hero, there is no comparison as far as I am concerned. He is to me the innovator of character comedy. He has got a sharp mind. He just created such an amazing Australian icon and character and he is just so in depth with it all – which I’m not. I don’t have in Pam Anne what he has in Dame Edna. I mean I’m totally inspired by him but to me it’s different, I’m a lot filthier I guess. I want to be different to him, there is no comparison, in my eyes he is The Holy Grail. To be compared, you can’t. I just don’t feel that’s right. He’s too good.
Barry Humphries a few weeks ago did the Q&A program here in Australia, which normally politicians appear on, but they had Barry Humphries on the panel, he was hilarious because his answer to every question was ‘I don’t know anything about that but is here what I think’.
I know it’s amazing; he is amazing across the board. I mean I have his books, you know there is a coin out with Dane Edna on it? I am a huge fan. Chelsea Handler, I really like her. I like her dry sense of humour, she’s a c**t and I appreciate that comparison totally. What’s the other one?
Hate her, can’t stand her, I don’t want to be compared to her. I think she is boring. [laughs]
I read that you did a gig for David Furnish’s birthday. How did that come about? Did they just call you up?
Well you know what I was in a gay f**king f**k club doing a show. In London, and one of the production managers or the guy who was doing the whole event saw me. So you never know where you are; you don’t have to do the Royal f**king Albert Hall to get a gig. You can do a shady old little gay fisting club and you can get a good gig out of that. Sir Elton John came out of a fisting club. Honestly, that is how it came about.
All the filthy gays are down there and you know Elton hired this guy and he was the guy that got me onto the gig. I had a great time. I went round for dinner once at David Furnish’s house. It was a big gay-f**king-fest, me and all the super gays and David. All we did all night, all those f**king gays did all night, David and all of them – and Elton John called in, all talking porn, all night, ‘porn porn porn’. All they talked about was porn and how David and Elton like to watch. I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but that is what they were talking about. No one told me when I left the room that I couldn’t pass that on…
You did a tour with Cher, what was that like?
Amazing, that was probably one of the scariest things of my life because it was a stadium tour so I was f**king nervous as f**k and supporting it, being a support act, I mean it is in an arena, supporting Cher is a hard thing to do. You’re supporting an icon. Again an icon that I have f**king been in love with since I was a kid. Totally inspired by her and her humour too because she is a very funny lady and very dry. The thing I liked about her was when I was doing my show, I was saying “c**k sucking coral lip gloss’ and they wanted to take the ‘c**k’ out but she said ‘no keep it but just beep it…we want to keep the c**k in”. She’s really cool. I really liked her a lot.
Do they ever let you play with the PA on the real plane?
Well they do I was coming on a QANTAS flight once or British Airways, I can’t remember and they woke me up and I said thank you to the crew for their hard work and welcome to Sydney. After 26 hours of being on that flight, like I wanted to do that! But of course I did it, I loved it. It was like f**k off you want me to do that! I was up all night with them lashing it so when they woke me I was hung-over, high on melatonin.
You’ve said you wouldn’t want to live in Australia now you’ve lived in London and New York, what would Australia have to do to entice you back?
I guess to come back I would have to have a television show or a career that I could sustain in the country. Half the time people leave is because you can’t work there all year round. I have to travel because there is not the population to warrant people seeing me every fucking week. You have to leave to work. I would love to live there if I could have a career there but I can’t. Unless the gods came and said ‘here’s a television show we’ll give you a contract for five years and you can just work here’ – I’d be there in a heartbeat.
How was it making your TV show?
It was amazing. It’s a shame it never found its audience on FOXTEL, my gays don’t buy FOXTEL, so it didn’t find an audience… Gays don’t buy FOXTEL. But for FOXTEL…to give me that opportunity, I am hugely grateful for it was the most amazing experience, and that gave me creative control.
It’s all my fault because I did create it and I’m proud of it, I’m proud of how gay it is, I’m proud of the whole show. I think that people said maybe it’s too gay, I say it’s not gay enough. I just think there should be more gay shows, more camp gay shows in Australia. I think that they are lacking I think there should be a lot more gay presenters. I think Australia really lacks on that front.
What can we expect from the show you are bringing to Perth?
Well it will be brand new, I mean everything will be brand new I’ve got new videos, new costumes, everything is very topical. I mean I never know how to make people feel excited to come to the show. I’m like, ‘just f**king come’. We’ve taken a spoof of the Pam AM American TV show and we’ve got a new movie channel. The whole thing is brand new. I’ve been on the road with a version of what I’m bringing up. When I come to Perth it will be very tailored to Perth again you know I’ll be talking about you lot out there and your airlines and all that stuff. Whatever is going on in Perth at the time I’ll make sure I know about it.
Pam Ann’s Around the World is at The Astor Theatre Friday 24 and Saturday 25 of August. Tickets available at BOCS.