Sometimes as a journalist I get to interview people who make a lasting impression. I recently spoke with air hostess Pam Ann, the alter-ego of Australian comedian Caroline Reid, who’s appearing May 10 in “Cockpit!” at the McCallum in Palm Desert.
During our brief chat she was charming, funny, salty, smart, irreverent and, in her own words, “super geeky passionate.”
Here’s an excerpt:
How did the Pam Ann character come about?
PAM ANN: Through desperation of getting off the island of Australia. I had to come up with something to get off there and get to civilization. I wanted to do acting and I was really inspired by Sandra Bernhard. But I was awful at auditions and I could never get anything in the acting world. I thought the only way to get something was to do something myself.
I dressed up as this Pan American air hostess for a party. After a few drinks everyone kept saying “Pam Ann, Pam Ann, Pam Ann.” I woke up and I thought … I’ve never really travelled either. I was always inspired by that era — like Palm Springs. To me, I love it because it has that ’60s chic-ness to it and the design. I just love that. Pam Ann is a throwback to the ’60s.
I was always told the show was style over substance. I thought it was a good thing. I was more excited about doing the posters and the outfits than the show.
What did you think when celebrities such as Cher, Elton John and Madonna made it known they were fans of yours?
It stopped though. I need a new one to add to the collection. Why didn’t Lady Gaga say something recently?
I’m from the suburbs of Australia. When I did the Cher tour — her manager is Australian — I rang my mom. She said, “Cher? What, the tribute act?” “No,” I said, “Cher Cher.”
All of it is always a shock to me. I still think about the Cher thing and think, Did that happen? I grew up with “The Sonny and Cher Show” in Australia.
Who makes you laugh harder than anyone?
You know what, my favorite comedian is Joan Rivers, of course. She’s continuously pushing the boundaries. I love her because she winds up those stupid *#@& who need it. Everyone is so offended today. Some people need to be shaken like a child. I like Joan Rivers.
I like Louis C.K. I think he’s great because he couldn’t give a #%*& and he says that to people. Justin Vivian Bond, I find ingeniously funny. I always have. He’s been a friend of mind for years. I find his whole reality amazing. He’s just one of the best storytellers and comics in the world today.
I went on a date yesterday with this guy and we had foie gras. He didn’t know what foie gras was. I said, “Foie gras is like the goose liver.” We’re walking toward the lake and there’s a goose. He pointed and said, “Look there’s an organ donor.” He wasn’t even trying to be funny. It was genius.
Is there anything more you want people to know about you?
Here’s a good quote: “I’d rather cry in a Rolls than be happy on a bike.” Patrizia Gucci said that in the back of a car on her way to prison after killing her husband.
IF YOU GO
What: Pam Ann in “Cockpit!”
When: 8 p.m. May 10
Where: McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert
Info: (760) 340-2787, www.mccallumtheatre.com