On Friday night (May 11), Pam Ann proved true the age-old axiom that there can be too much of a good thing.
The Australian comedian, whose real name is Caroline Reid, kicked off a nine-city U.S. tour at the McCallum Theatre. Attendees were predominantly if not overwhelmingly gay men—and Pam Ann, no surprise, aimed her show squarely at the “mid-century modern, post-modern Palm Springs gays with their Alexander or Wexler redone homes.”
The events kicked off with a video inserting Pam Ann into the short-lived 2011-2012 ABC show Pan Am, with Pam Ann having all sorts of amusingly filthy interactions with the cast and crew (including asking a black character whether he could “split her in half” with his gigantic you-know-what; he answered in the affirmative). She then came out wearing a yellow dress and proceeded to riff, hilariously, with the audience for a good half-hour.
I’ve seen Pam Ann’s show about a half-dozen times (all of the previous shows I saw were on cruise ships), and this was by far her funniest—and least-structured—performance. She spent the bulk of her time harassing and joking with the appreciative audience. (Several fans even presented her with gifts, including poppers and a “Virgin America flight manual," which contained condoms, lube and perhaps even a bit of cocaine. The “cum-dripping” Grindr-like nature of Virgin America, at least in Pam Ann’s addled brain, was mentioned numerous times over the evening.)
Problem was, she was having so much fun—and early success—while joking with the audience that the elements of her proper “show” were rushed.
In fact, the “show” parts were at times rather weak. She has a new animated safety video that is awkward and, at best, mildly amusing. A video inserting her into famous films such as Superman and The Exorcist was OK, but a McCallum tech partially ruined it by stopping it about a third of the way through and then starting it all over again. And her closing number, with her saying goodbye to the audience to the tune of “From New York to L.A.,” was a complete mess.
However, her comedic interactions with the audience showed Pam Ann at the top of her game (even as she proved that she’d never heard of the city of Indio). Some of her over-the-top-humor—such as quizzing a wife on the blowjobs she gives her husband—left some audience members uncomfortable, and at least one usher shaking her head. That's not Pam Ann's problem, though; the audience members, at least, should have known what they were getting themselves into.
While Reid was indeed hilarious, there was a bit too much of that good thing: The show ran for about two hours and 15 minutes, and the laughs faded a bit as the night went on. Pam Ann herself seemed surprised by the show’s length when she walked onstage for the final number, expressing shock that the show had gone on for so long and adding that she probably would have walked out by then if she’d been in the audience.
Pam Ann was a hoot on Friday night. But a half-hour less of her would have been even better.