Review: Pam Ann’s ‘Coffee or Tea… I Drank All the Vodka’ at Joe’s Pub at the Public

By Jonathan Spira on 8 April 2016
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It takes a lot to raise the eyebrows of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess of Grantham but Pam Ann, the comedic flight attendant persona of Australian comedienne Caroline Reid, manages to do it without batting an eye.

Pam Ann took flight at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater on Astor Place last week (she’ll be back again in August) and the audience greatly enjoyed the turbulence.

For over 20 years, Reid has built her Pam Ann franchise (which includes a modified version of the original Pan Am logo) into her own brand, one that includes a talk show on Australian television, appearances in British Airways advertising campaigns, in-flight videos for Qantas, and other work with airlines that include Scandinavian and JetBlue.

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This doesn’t mean, however, that these and other airlines are not fodder for her shtick, which, similar to Archie Bunker’s explanation that he’s not prejudiced, he just hates everyone, spares no group from her rather pointed and generally amusing barbs. Just like what Norman Lear intended with Archie’s loudmouthed, misogynistic character in “All in the Family,” Reid says what she says isn’t for shock value but to make the audience confront its own prejudices.

However, when she takes a break from her provocative nymphomania, we find she’s an airline nerd at heart and some of her best lines (no pun intended) come out. After the show, Caroline told me how she was inspired by the glamor of the 1960s, the dawn of the jet age, and her mum, who is and continues to be quite glamorous, to create the Pam Ann character. She hadn’t really traveled very much by the time she started but she quickly made up for it.

Reid is clearly well informed on everything going on in the airline world and uses her knowledge as power. Her appreciative audience, many of whom have seen her performances more than once, appreciates the mix.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Performance: No Holds Barred

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