Attention passengers: assume the crash position, that way you won’t feel the turbulence. Yes, Pam Ann is ready to wing you to her jet lounge where a budget variety show promises one very bumpy ride.
Returning home from touring the international comedy cabaret circuit, this is Pam Ann’s first serious foray into local television. Inspired by ’60s chic she’s got the big hair, big earrings, big mascara but a decidedly naughties (very naughty) comic tone.
The format is simple: a ’60s-style jet lounge with economy passengers hosts an array of chats, routines, songs, audience participation and celebrity. It’s madcap, mayhem and MA-rated. She’s even got her very own troupe of William Forsythe dancing boys. If you haven’t already figured it out by now, this is not only the gayest show on television, but the gayest studio audience too.
Each half hour is flavoured by a different destination, beginning with Beijing. London, Sydney, New York and Rome will follow.
There’s a ‘Galley Guest’ visit by Dr. Cindy Pan (she practically blushes when Pam Ann asks her about the last time she had sex), a Perfect Match routine where three audience members of both sexes vie for a date with Justin Melvey, and a brief visit from Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham.
Lured onto a king-size bed in her mile-high penthouse, Mitcham’s boyish charm is endearing. Forget about in-depth questions, this is all about on-air chemistry.
Having honed her style performing alongside Miss Candy, Coco, Stella, Rita and innumerable drag queens in 1990s Melbourne, Caroline Reid is in-your-face entertainment. She draws upon comedy that is characteristic of Australian drag: elegantly packaged with a deliberately inelegant act.
Pam Ann is unashamedly forward, confidently commenting on everything from her audience’s looks, attire and sexual history. She makes no apologies for her blunt language: “you’ve got a bit of c** on your face”. Let’s face it. You won’t get this sort of stuff on Mornings with Kerri-Anne.
In its cabaret environment everyone is having a hoot, and both performer and audience appear to encourage the other to become more outrageous. As television it needs a little room to breathe.
But this is the kind of alternative comedy that pay television can afford to nurture. It’s a bit risqué, a bit cheap and a LOT flamboyant. Catch her if you can.
The Pam Ann Show airs 9:30pm Wednesdays on Comedy Channel.