Low flying humour is stuck on the ground
The Pam Ann Show 9.30pm, Comedy
JOKES about flying have been around for a long time: ‘‘ It’s quite possible that it was about the time that Icarus got out the wax making kit that someone first noticed how bad airline food is.’’
‘‘ I just flew in from Miami and boy, are my arms tired.’’ ‘‘ Man, those whistles on life jackets are pointless.’’ ‘‘ How come Customs asks you if you’re carrying any illegal drugs; as if you’d just admit it.’’
The point is, aviation is a cornerstone of comedy, so if it’s your focus, you’d better come up with something fresh. On the strength of the debut episode of The Pam Ann Show, a variety show centred on the flight attendant alter ego of comedian Caroline Reid, that’s not the case.
I’m loath to sledge a new comedy on the basis of its first episode, when it may simply still be finding its feet, but after watching this, it’s clear it has a long way to go.
The show, which takes place on a set decked out to look like a plane, is a mix of Ann’s stand-up routine, audience interaction and games and interviews. In fact, it packs quite a bit into its half-hour slot, with the result that everything feels half-developed.
Admittedly, I have never seen one of Pam Ann’s live shows. She has a huge gay cult following and perhaps she’s a hoot with them. But with a Captain Rimming and lots of talk about rear entry, The Pam Ann Show causes you to long nostalgically for the sophisticated innuendo of Are You Being Served?
I don’t have a problem with ribald humour but it has to be innovative and funny. Sad to say, describing someone as a ‘‘ trysexual’’ because they’ll try anything — which comes courtesy of sex expert Cindy Pan when Ann interviews her — is not. In fact I’m fairly sure David Bowie said it decades ago.
Nor is there anything original about pretending to be a Japanese woman and saying ‘‘ escarator’’. That is something I can’t attribute to Bowie, but can to my neighbour in the mid-1980s, and it seemed cheap and racist then, too. Chris Lilley barely got away with playing an Asian character on We Can Be Heroes , but that’s because he did something more with
The Pam Ann Show Ricky Wong than replace l with r.
The show is not completely without charm, however. Ann’s interview with Matthew Mitchum, the first openly gay Australian Olympic competitor, is good fun, breezy and interesting, which hints at what this show could have been.
It would be nice to see some more gay-friendly shows on television, but it would also be nice if The Pam Ann Show was funnier. Perhaps, in time, both will happen.
Unoriginal: Caroline Reid and friends in