Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Listen: How Dame 'Don’t Call Me Ed’ Edna Hijacks An Interview

Joel Ryan
Invision/AP Photo
Australian TV presenter Barry Humphries performs on stage as Dame Edna for the Farewell Tour, at the London Palladium theatre, in central London, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

Dame Edna brings her special brand of comedy to Seattle this weekend for the launch of her farewell tour. For nearly 60 years, the Australian housewife-turned superstar has entertained audiences around the world. Now, the character created by comedian Barry Humphries is saying goodbye to her fans. 

"I like the name Edward," she said at the outset of the interview. "Why do people abbreviate names? My name is Edna, as you know. If anyone addresses me as Ed, I never ever speak to them again."

And Dame Edna wasn't done. It turns out she had been doing some research on her interviewer. Listen:

Of course, Dame Edna graciously submitted to some questions as well. You can listen to the whole interview, or read some of our favorite bon mots below.


On Starting Her Farewell Tour In Seattle: “It’s a lucky city for me. You might say that it’s the world premiere of my farewell show in Seattle. I’m honoring the city with my world premiere.”

On Theatre Etiquette: “Please, possums, please dress nicely. People come to the theater in horrible old track suits and trainers. None of that. Put on a nice frock, ladies. Even, if the gentlemen are so inclined, they can put on a nice frock as well.”

On Feminism: “A lot of women think that when they get married, their biological cycle is over. When they’re standing at the kitchen sink looking through a dirty pane of glass at a backyard full of broken toys, wrist-deep in gray water with peas and mutton fat floating on its surface, they think, ‘That’s life.’ Pretty women, who still have their drives and their juices, forsaken by their pot-bellied husbands. I have shown women that there is mega-stardom possible for everybody.”

On Leaving The Stage: “I’m not really retiring, because I will be a consultant. I’ll lecture. I want to help people. I’ve been given so much by mother nature, I need to put something back.”

On Her Legacy: “I hope they feel they’ve never had such a good laugh. Because, you know, when we laugh, ladies, we use little muscles — tiny little muscles — that we only use on, well, one other occasion.”

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.