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Take off with her: Pam Ann, stewardess with snark, crash-lands at Feinstein's

by Jim Gladstone

Pam Ann
Pam Ann  

This past December, local fans of comedienne Caroline Reid, better known as her stage character, flight attendant Pam Ann, had the chance to experience her in the Airbus-scaled environs of the Castro Theatre. This weekend, though, she'll be serving up private plane privilege in the luxe limited-seating cabin of Feinstein's at the Nikko.
So, would you rather book a flight on the world's largest commercial aircraft -the double-decked Airbus A380- or on a sleek Gulfstream G650, which seats only 18?

On the one hand, there's a thrill in sharing a marvel of aeronautic engineering with over 800 fellow flyers. On the other, there's a unique intimacy -and to some, a nerve-wracking vulnerability- to traveling in compact cushiness.

"This show will be very different," Reid said in a recent conversation via email. "Performing in an intimate venue allows me to be much more interactive with the audience. I get to know people and take my time. It's like when I go see Dame Edna. I want to see her play with the audience." (Front row ticketholders, you've been warned.)

Reid also reveals that her shows this week will include the premiere of a new video segment spoofing the hit BBC television competition The Great British Bake Off.

"My version," she notes, with typical demurity, "is called The Great British Wank Off."

In her interview with the Bay Area Reporter, Reid buckled up to answer a few questions about her high-flying life and remarkably single-minded performance niche: air hostess comedy.


Pam Ann  

What are the biggest differences between Caroline and your stage persona Pam Ann?
Pam Ann is my comfort zone. The biggest difference is that when I do stand-up as Caroline, I'm talking about my personal life and experiences, which makes me sometimes feel more vulnerable. The Pam Ann character is based on 20 years of observation of airlines and traveling around the globe. Doing shows as Caroline has given me a huge appreciation and respect for Pam Ann. I'll never resent her; she's gifted me a lifetime of experience, introduced me to many friends, got me my Green Card (a native Australian, Reid now lives in Miami). She opened my life to a world of people I may never have met without her. I love her like P.L. Travers loved her character, Mary Poppins.

Given your big gay fan base and your opportunity to travel and perform worldwide, can you recommend any appealing vacation spots that may be a bit under the radar?
Phnom Penh, Cambodia is so fabulous for the gay traveler. It has my favorite transgender/ drag venue, Blue Chill. You have to check it out. I was so honored to grace the cover of the country's first ever LGBT magazine, Q Cambodia. Cambodia's Koh Rong Islands are also a hidden gem. My favorite island to escape to is Song Saa, which means "sweethearts" in Khmer.

What music do you listen to during flights between gigs?
I have been in a very sad place lately after a break up, so I feed the pain with sad songs and music. I'm so dramatic! I've been listening to Lady Antebelum, This Mortal Coil, the Jean De Florette soundtrack, Ed Sheeran, Eminem, Fugees, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. I have the ear buds and they are up as loud as they can go. My take-off song is "Can You Feel It?" by Michael Jackson and my landing song is "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas. I guess I should update that one.

As the gap between the 1% and the rest of us grows, how would you describe first class commercial flyers versus private plane users? And what's the difference between flight attendants on private planes versus commercial?
I love flying long haul First Class commercial. The flight attendants usually always take great care of me regardless of class, because of Pam Ann. I'm always in the galley chatting to the crew getting drunk anyway, so I don't know why I ever waste my money on a First Class ticket. I love flying commercial and, well, I don't really have a choice! To be honest, I have flown private once in my life. It was so exciting. We flew from London to Mykonos. We did an ice bucket challenge on board, I sat in the cockpit for landing and I got so drunk the rest is a blur.

Pam Ann at Feinstein's at the Nikko, 222 Mason St. April 20 & 21, 8pm. $37.50 to $70 ($20 food/drink min.) http://pamann.com/ https://www.feinsteinsatthenikko.com/


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