Friday, January 2, 2009

The Very Startling Dame Edna Everidge

I saw Dame Edna Everidge (aka Barry Humphries) in London a while back.

I went to tick her-him off the list more than anything else - a bit like you do with some famous cities or well-known works of art.

Humphries's reputation is as a social satirist, exposing pretension and prejudice, often by clothing his character in the very traits he's attacking.

I wasn't imagining he'd be that much out of the ordinary - but I was apoplectic with laughter - gasping and hardly able to breathe. To my absolute surprise.

In gentle chat with random members of the audience, he's sweetly and seemingly without calculation have each unconsciously expose themselves.

As much as anything else, it was in a general way the quickness and unexpectedness that gets you in.

These two clips give you a bit of an idea of this aspect of the Humphries theatre persona, if you are not already familiar with it.

He took a while to translate in the States but I believe he's now understood and accepted there?


  1. Yes he is. Hysterical clips. Thanks Nick. Wit.

  2. oh yes!!! hes very popular here. would love to see his show!!!

  3. great - i wanna see him again - it's been too long - since i've laughter that much - and it's good for you!

  4. But that second photo - without the rouge and powder -- looks remarkably like that Brit who is a cranky 'celebrity' on reality TV shows like Celebrity Apprentice or America's Got Talent -- can't remember his name -- Piers something or other???

    Chris in Toronto

  5. Ha!! Just played the clip -- it is that Piers guy -wrote too soon sorry!

  6. I love Dame Edna! One of my favorite comedians (Don't worry Kathy Griffin, you're in there too!). I do believe she's (he's) become quite famous in the United States. MAC Cosmetics recently released a Dame Edna collection, worth checking out!

  7. hey chris

    makes the dame edna's comment even funnier, given his personality! in fact that's her point!

  8. hey anon

    a dame edna collection! wow!

    make-up for drag? or 'real' make-up?

  9. She's been huge here. She is on what she says is her final tour, just finishing the SF run this w/e. When I saw her, she hit on the SF tendency to dress down. She told one of woman that she was sure she could design a fabulous apartment because she saves so much money on clothes. Although she has a well-rehearsed schtick and style, the improv genius is there as well.

    What's the name of the drunken diplomat character that the Australian parliament banned Humphreys from performing during the Sydney Olympics? Mrs. Everidge's point made!

  10. hey jason_m

    yeah, he's/she's 75 now - tho doesn't look it.

    and the clothes-house line you mention is so much his style!

    the diplomat is sir les patterson - there are a range of characters but only dame edna really took off big time.

    and yes banning is certainly success!

  11. hey wit

    yeah he/she is pretty postable!

  12. I saw Dame Edna in person many years ago and love her very much. She's a hoot!

  13. hey ricko

    great you've seen her - an experienced not to be missed - and one to be treasured - there are not many performers round of this type

    a real hoot, yep

    take care


  14. Barry Humphries has created a number of other personae, as well as Dame Edna; his 'Australian cultural Ambassador' Sir Les Patterson is wonderfully grotesque and of course alarmingly funny. Anonymous is referring to the revolting Piers Morgan, who is a sort-of tabloid editor-cum-"journalist" turned tv "personality" that we Brits would happily send off to the US if he'd promise to stay away ... except that I llve in the US now, and can't get away from the repellent bastard.

  15. hey iain

    hadn't heard of piers morgan - thanks for the update

    our equally repellent and anti-gay ex-prime minister john howard was in the States recently and CNN reported that he was visiting there 'because he was no longer welcome in australia' - i was astounded and cheered loud and long for their boldness in this! the newsreader gave such a sweet little wry smile at the end of the item - perfection!

  16. I had the pleasure of seeing Dame Edna in NYC several years ago and I was blown away by the genius of her extemporaneous interaction with the audience. No rehearsal could have gone off better. She is brilliant and I can't wait until she returns again to the States. Dame Edna can hold her own with the best of the contemporary comedians of our day.

  17. hey anon

    yeah, you are right - it is how she picks up on what's happening at the very moment and then makes something very witty and clever about it.

    like you i'd love to see her again - and hope i catch her before she retires

    take care!