Pam Ann Touches Down


By Joseph Hassan

Any airlines you're afraid of?
I'm nervous if I'm not on a carrier I know. It's a bit of a control thing for me. On BA, you know, those pilots have had rigorous training -- or American -- rather than getting on Air China or Nigerian Air. Some of my friends do that shit to save money. I'm like, 'screw you guys.' [Laughs]

I have to ask. There was a story I read about when you were working in a hair salon in Melbourne'
And I was tripping on acid?

That's the one.
Yeah, that was horrible, but it was funny at the time.

But looking back, not so funny?
Looking back I can say that it wasn't fun having a wedding party coming in when I was tripping on acid. I had to run out and throw up out in back' Oh, God. That wedding party. I mean, it was not fun.

You opened for Cher at [London's] Wembley Stadium. What was that like?
Amazing. Something that you don't think about when you say 'yes' to it: suddenly on the night, you're like, 'Why the fuck did I say 'yes' to this?' I paced so much that the dancers that were with me said, 'You're going to put holes in the ground.' But that was amazing. I was really thrilled that someone like her was open to it.

How did that come about?
Her manager is Australian and he saw me in Sydney and suggested me to Cher. And I followed them up and said I'd really like to do it.

Tell me a little bit about your comedic influences.
Sandra Bernhard was a really big influence when I first started'I loved her Without You I'm Nothing show. I saw her and thought that I'd love to do a one-woman thing. I was sort of doing amateur stuff at the time and thought that I was never going to get anywhere. I hated auditioning... I wasn't very good at it. I was thinking along the lines of doing my own thing. I had to create something.

Who else influenced you?
I love Joan Rivers. I think she's iconic and has amazing stamina. I love Kathy Griffin. I just fucking love her; she's hysterical. I love Margaret Cho. I like Jon Stewart. And Lisa Lampanelli. I love her; she's fucking mental. But Sandra Bernhard is the first one.

So Sandra Bernhard is the one person that really influenced the direction you took with Pam Ann?
Absolutely' and Steven Soderbergh with Sex, Lies and Videotape. He wrote a diary about Sex, Lies and Videotape and about his struggles with that film and when I read that I got very inspired by it. I approached him about doing that book as a play and he actually wrote back ' Steven Soderbergh ' to me and said, 'Your photo is very arresting.'

Yeah, but for a whole two years, I was like, 'What does 'arresting' mean? Is that good? Is it, 'I'm hot?'' And that was a real inspiration. It was nice to get that. I always thought in the back of my head, 'One day I'm going to work with you.' He was a very big inspiration. To know that if you put it out there, it comes back to you. That was a real test.