International celebrity air hostess, Pam Ann (look below to find out how the name came about), has evolved since first jetting out of her hometown of Melbourne 20 years ago. Pam – the alter-ego of Australian comedian-writer-producer Caroline Reid – has developed a cult following, both here in the States and overseas, with her masterful portrayal of an International Flight Attendant. Pam Ann will be performing as part of the “Outlandish” series at the Sunshine Cathedral on Saturday, February 11 at 8pm. For those of you who have never seen a Pam Ann performance, get ready for turbulence cause by all the hysterical laughter. It was a pleasure to sit down with both Pam and Caroline for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
How did you create Pam Ann?
She was born out of a bottle of Absolut vodka. I had a James Bond themed birthday party back in 1996 (Sean Connery Bond) he only flew Pan American so I went dressed to my birthday as a Pan Am 1960’s air hostess. Over the course of the evening everyone was getting more and more drunk and started calling me Pan Am. The drunker my friends got the more it sounded like Pam Ann. Try it say Pan Am ten times in a row BOOM PAM ANN is born. Plus, my love of everything 60’s design and airlines created what Pam Ann is today. Seriously I never thought I’d end up in comedy, I actually wanted to be a department store window dresser… before Pam Ann I actually used to sell mannequins at Mei & Picchi in Fitzroy Melbourne.
Did you ever expect this level of success and how did it change your life?
I never try to have expectations period. I’ve always lived my life and career organically and followed my heart and passion. Success is a weird word; it’s all in the mind what you perceive. I just try to be as authentic as possible and I don’t think about success. I feel like I haven’t even started yet and still have a long journey ahead. Pam Ann has gifted me the opportunity to live a carefree life and travel the world doing what I love, I couldn’t be more grateful to her. I’ve met so many incredible friends along the way. I’m a High School dropout so for me Pam Ann has been my university in life. I am now the Wikipedia on airlines, flight attendants, cultures and global travel. My US green card to me is one of my greatest achievements, it’s my college degree … Pam Ann got me into the USA.
You have worked with so many superstars, who are your favorites and why?
Elton John and David Furnish are my favorite superstars and people in the world. Not only do they support and encourage new talent they have raised so much awareness and money for HIV and AIDS; they are my heroes. I love them both so so much… and damn, they know how to throw a great party.
You have traveled the world do you have any favorite Venues and Cities and why?
Miami is the love of my life right now I can’t begin to tell you how much I truly love Miami. I’ve lived in London 10yrs, NYC 8yrs … Miami Beach is where it’s at. I love the Cubans and the diverse community. I love how everything is a suggestion in Miami (even a red traffic light) and when people say let’s meet at 4pm they turn up at 7pm and the biggest stress of the day is whether to go to the beach or pool? I don’t ever see myself leaving Miami. But if I had to choose my favorite city I’d have to say NYC it’s the best city in the world …I’m just in a Miami state of mind.
My favorite venue to perform is a venue with an audience who have great energy and are there to have a good time. It’s the people who make the venue great. My all-time favorite venue is The Theatre Royal in Glasgow as you can’t beat a Glaswegian audience. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere… because the Glaswegians are some of the funniest people in the world. I got in a taxi in Glasgow once and the taxi driver asked me what I did I told him I was a comedienne and he said DAMN you must be good if you can make a Glaswegian laugh. I took that as a great compliment.
Is there one gig that was your favorite and if so why?
One of my favorite shows was in Paris at the beautiful Alhambra theatre. I love Parisians and I love performing in Paris. My bar is set high to achieve and do the best I can for the Parisians. (Comedy is like a drug your always chasing the perfect show) So this one particulate night in Paris I’d performed what I thought was an ok show in my mind. I went off stage and said to my tour manager Esther (who’s been with me for over 12yrs and knows me so well) damn that wasn’t good enough. I went to my dressing room took off my wig and threw off my Chanel pumps … Esther then came running into my dressing room saying they won’t leave … I said who? She said the audience. They are stamping their feet and demanding you come out for an encore. I was in shock, and I went out barefoot, wig in hand completely confused …they all stood on their feet and shouted BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO. I cried and thanked them as they hugged me with their hearts. I’ll never forget it, it was my Edith Piaf moment. I love and adore the French so much and even though I can’t speak French, they feel it from my soul. That’s why I love what I do, for these precious magical golden rare moments.
Now that you live in the states, do you miss Australia and how often do you get back down under?
I love Australia, my family and my best friends live there. I’ve had friends in Oz for over 30yrs who are all part of my DNA. Pam Ann was born in Melbourne through the encouragement of so many darling friends of mine, without them Pam Ann might never have been. I miss everyone so much I wish we could pull Australia over and join it to Miami. IMAGINE Miami with kangaroos! I try and go back 2 times a year of course flying the Qantas, the flying kangaroo.
I hear you are working on a movie deal. Tell us more about that?
Yes I am working on a Pam Ann movie its taking years but I want to get it right. The first treatment I wrote my producer he said it read like a p@rno so I’m back at the drawing board. The producer I’m working with is also my best friend and mentor … we ironically met in the First Class Lufthansa Lounge at JFK. It’s all still a work in progress so I can’t divulge much more than it’s going to be f#$king filthy funny if it ever gets made. Again, I’ll leave that to the universe to decide.
How do you keep your material fresh for the audience and for yourself as an artist?
I never do the same show ever. I tailor my shows to what country I’m in and talk about their national airline and what is currently happening in their world that we all can relate to. I improvise the first hour or so of my show and I work on the fly so to speak. I don’t write I just tell my stories though my real life experiences and observations (I have an incredible Wikipedia library in my head). I have brought back much more audience participation to my shows once again, which I love. I stopped doing it for a while …long story all I’ll say it involved glitter and a homophobic couple. But rest assured I’m back in full swing so watch out Pam Ann Frequent Flyers.
Describe Pam Ann is 3 words?
Honest, funny and ‘plane’ filthy
What should the South Florida Audiences expect from this tour?
Expect your lives to be hijacked with laughing gas
Do you have a warning for the virgins of your show?
Turn your f*cking phones off
What does the future hold for Pam Ann and for Caroline?
Who knows?…If the audiences still come to see Pam Ann she will continue to perform… as for me I look forward to my Golden Girl days hanging out poolside in pastel colors with my gays in Florida cocktail in hand.
….Maybe we can make this gig a monthly gig at the Sunshine Cathedral … and rename it ‘Pam Ann’s Sunshine Cathedral’…where it’s sunny every day
AMEN, 3 gospel claps and a high kick!!!