Caroline Reid has fond — if somewhat hazy — memories of Whistler.
The comedian, better known as Pam Ann, performed at the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival about 10 years ago. Back then the festival’s blow-out bash, Snowball, was held up on Whistler Mountain at the Roundhouse.
“I remember going up in the gondola (to the party) and the guys in the gondola had a joint,” Reid said, over the phone from her home in New York City. “I didn’t really smoke pot, but halfway up the mountain the door opened and the smoke came out. I was quite high when I got to the top, and quite paranoid on the way down.”
Then there’s the other connection: Reid originally hails from Melbourne. “There are a lot of Aussies (in Whistler),” she said, with a laugh.
“I’m sure they walk around in their flip flops. They do f*ck all and I bet they smoke pot and look like they’re busy.”
Reid might be humble, charming and unintimidating over the phone, but on stage, Pam has an entirely different reputation.
Her moniker is a play on the airline “Pan Am,” and her comedy features off-the-cuff improv, often centred on the airline industry and travel in general — with a biting (and sometimes filthy) edge. It all came about after Reid threw a James Bond-themed birthday party in which she dressed up as a Pan Am air hostess — Bond’s airline of choice.
“My comedy is very improvised,” she said. “I don’t really write a show. I’ll write it on the plane on the way over or on the stage, that keeps it fresh and current to the second... There are staples in the show, certain references you have to have — in my Wikipedia mind of airlines, they’ll come out.”
Over the last two decades Reid has starred in her own TV show in Australia, entertained on 70 Atlantis cruises and even served as part of the “crew” on Elton John’s private jet.
“I love it,” she said. “I love the character because she says what people want to say. She’s not Trump by any means, but she is politically incorrect.”
While her comedy has earned her legions of fans around the globe, the gay community in particular makes up a large part of her fanbase.
She’s set to return to Whistler on Jan. 25 to headline an evening of comedy at the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival.
Although she’s been called a “gay icon” many times, Reid laughs at that title. “I would not say that myself!” she said. “I’m just someone who runs around dressed up as an air hostess. I think the gay community, it’s my tribe. When I was growing up I was more interested in creating and I was surrounded by creative people who happened to be gay. I didn’t go out to source the gay community. If anything I blame the gay community for grooming me. They did, actually. I blame the gays for everything.”
Catch Pam Ann at the festival — which runs from Jan. 22 to Jan. 29 — on Jan. 25 headlining the Snow Landing comedy show.
For tickets visit gaywhistler.com.