Not My Job: Dame Edna Everage Gets Quizzed On Farewell Tours
Housewife and superstar Dame Edna Everage is the creation of Australian comedian Barry Humphries. Blazing out of Moonee Ponds, a Melbourne suburb, Dame Edna has conquered stage, screen, television, bookshops and more over the last 60 years.
She's just launched her farewell tour across the U.S. this weekend, so we've invited her to play a game called "I won't be back!" Three questions about other farewell tours, taken from the Rolling Stone article 10 'Farewell' Tours That Didn't Stick.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where we ask the fabulous about the mundane, and it's called Not My Job. Blazing out of the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Moonee Ponds, Dame Edna Everage has conquered stage, screen, television, bookshops, and basically all of Western civilization over the last 60 years. She has just launched her final farewell tour across America, and we are delighted to welcome her. Dame Edna, welcome to WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.
DAME EDNA EVERAGE: Thank you.
EVERAGE: Lovely. Lovely. And Peter - thank you.
SAGAL: Yes, Edna?
EVERAGE: It's beautiful to talk to you and to the viewers. And, you know, I call them viewers.
SAGAL: You do?
EVERAGE: Because a lot of people - especially confused people - watch the radio.
SAGAL: They do. It's why sometimes it moves, in my experience.
EVERAGE: My mother watched it, and I hope that someone will pop out of it.
EVERAGE: I had a horrible experience, Peter.
SAGAL: What was that, Dame?
EVERAGE: I nearly missed this broadcast...
EVERAGE: ...Because I'm in a spooky hotel and I was very nervous about talking to you - and to the viewers. And I went out of my hotel door and the door slammed. So I didn't know what to do. I crossed the corridor, I opened a door, and it was a stairwell. I got caught. The door slammed again and I was in a stairwell in a strange hotel. It's horrible.
SAGAL: It's terrible.
EVERAGE: I had to descend about 18 floors.
SAGAL: I see.
EVERAGE: And I found a person in a similar predicament.
EVERAGE: And unfortunately it was some homeless person.
SAGAL: Oh I see.
EVERAGE: And they were very comfortable. They were actually living there. There was a shopping cart and all that sort of thing.
EVERAGE: A beautiful setup, they had.
EVERAGE: As a matter of fact, it was a bit more comfortable than my room.
SAGAL: I understand.
EVERAGE: You know, I feel, Peter...
EVERAGE: ...That I'm an unofficial ambassador because everywhere I go I tell people about the United States because whether you know it or not, America is a very well-kept secret.
SAGAL: It is?
SAGAL: Now I just want to say, you are - I think - where shall we begin? You are certainly Australia's most famous citizen. Is that correct?
EVERAGE: Well, I am. And I'm a very close friend of the Queen.
EVERAGE: And she doesn't really make a move without me.
EVERAGE: And I have a lovely little apartment in Buckingham Palace.
SAGAL: Do you?
EVERAGE: I've got a key and she's given me my own shelf in the refrigerator.
SAGAL: That's very sweet of her.
EVERAGE: And I've introduced her grandson, Prince William, to that little Kate Middleton.
SAGAL: Did you do that? You arranged that?
EVERAGE: I did. I'm a bit of a - well, a matchmaker. I introduced George Clooney too to that lovely woman.
SAGAL: Really? Can you remember her name 'cause I have trouble with it?
SAGAL: She is a solicitor, I'm told.
EVERAGE: Oh, she's many things. She's a lawyer - a human rights lawyer - but then, so am I. Anyone can be one of those.
EVERAGE: I'm also a widow, Peter.
SAGAL: Oh, I had heard that. That was rather tragic.
EVERAGE: Well, no.
EVERAGE: As a matter of fact, the secret of my marriage is a very, very simple one. My husband was bedridden for most of our married life.
EVERAGE: He was an invalid.
SAGAL: I see.
EVERAGE: And I'd recommend it, as a matter of fact.
EVERAGE: Because - no - it gave me a certain freedom. And he was very well looked after.
SAGAL: We understand though that you do have children though. You're a mother.
EVERAGE: Oh I've got three children. I lost one. It was abducted by a rogue koala bear - a feral koala bear.
SAGAL: That's terrible but somewhat adorable.
EVERAGE: But it was - well, I mean, I'm looking - every time I pass a eucalyptus tree I look up.
SAGAL: Now Dame - Hello. Dame Edna, what is your parenting style? Do you consider yourself, as we've been saying of late here in America, a tiger mom? Did you demand a lot from your children?
EVERAGE: No I don't. I've decided the secret of parenting is benevolent neglect.
EVERAGE: It is. And I put my family last.
EVERAGE: Because if you don't, if you put them first, they never thank you. You'll never get a word of thanks from them.
EVERAGE: You've got to do what Peter has got to do.
EVERAGE: And you have done wonders and you've made those lovely films - the "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights."
SAGAL: That's - Dame Edna, I...
LUKE BURBANK: Who told her about the Internet?
SAGAL: I know.
EVERAGE: These - who was that person talking?
SAGAL: That was - that was Luke Burbank.
BURBANK: Dame, we met recently in a stairwell. You made quite an impression on me.
EVERAGE: You had to shave.
SAGAL: However did you find out about me?
EVERAGE: Because, look darling, I followed your career for many, many years.
SAGAL: I'm flattered and honored.
EVERAGE: And you are very, very bright and interesting.
SAGAL: Well thank you, Dame Edna.
EVERAGE: And really, you don't need to do this show.
SAGAL: Well, Dame Edna, we are so - I think, honored, is the only word - to talk to you.
EVERAGE: You don't have to overdo it Peter. I know you too well.
SAGAL: Oh, you're right.
EVERAGE: I don't hear a single note of sincerity.
SAGAL: All right. Dame Edna, we're moderately happy to talk to you.
SAGAL: We've asked you here to play a game that this time we're calling - oh yeah - this time we're calling the game...
BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: I Won't Be Back.
SAGAL: Now as you mentioned, you're on your farewell tour, one of just a few. And we have no doubt that this time you mean it sincerely, but other people are not so honest about their farewells. We're going to ask you three questions about other farewell tours taken from an article we found on rollingstone.com. And if you get two questions right, you'll win a prize from one of our listeners. Bill, who is Dame Edna Everage playing for?
KURTIS: Kate Rhee of Berlin, Germany.
SAGAL: So there you are.
EVERAGE: Good heavens.
SAGAL: I know, Germany, no less. Here's your first question Dame Edna. The heavy battle metal band Judas Priest, perhaps you know of them...
EVERAGE: You've lost me already.
SAGAL: I know.
SAGAL: They're a musical group of some kind. They did their farewell tour in 2011 and then they toured again two years later. When asked why they came back after going away, guitarist Glen Tipton of the band said which of these? Did he say A, quote, "you try living at home with my wife;" B, quote, "I realized no one threw their underwear at me when I was retired;" or C, quote, "we, uh, lied."
SAGAL: You are correct, Dame Edna.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: We, uh, lied.
EVERAGE: I said C...
SAGAL: Yes, very good - very good choice.
EVERAGE: I said C because you wouldn't expect a very witty reply from a heavy metal band.
SAGAL: That's true.
SAGAL: Next question, Dame Edna. When the band Nine Inch Nails announced their farewell tour in 2009...
EVERAGE: What was the name of them?
SAGAL: Nine Inch Nails, Dame Edna.
EVERAGE: Oh, I thought you said males.
SAGAL: No, no, no.
SAGAL: When the band Nine Inch Nails announced their farewell tour in 2009, band leader Trent Reznor explained their decision to quit how? Again, three quotes. Was it A, quote, "basically, I came around to agree with all the parents - it is just noise;" B, quote, "I realized it was time to quit when I couldn't fit into the pants anymore;" or C, quote, "I'd never want to be Gene Simmons - an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids like a clown going to work," unquote.
EVERAGE: I think it's C again.
SAGAL: You are right, Dame Edna.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: I was going to explain who Gene Simmons was, he of course is leader of the band Kiss, but presumably you know that.
EVERAGE: Well, someone knows it.
SAGAL: Now we have one last question for you. Let's see if you can be as perfect in this as you are in so many things. Elton John, who is of course still performing, first announced that he would stop touring as a musician back in 1977. He later said that that decision was due to what? A, he was distraught after his single, "No Wait - This Is Your Song" failed to sell; B, he was taking a lot of drugs; or C, he didn't want to be like Gene Simmons.
EVERAGE: Number one.
SAGAL: Number one. Number one was he was distraught after his single, single "No Wait - This Is Your Song" failed to catch on with the public.
EVERAGE: That is my choice.
SAGAL: I wish it were true. Sadly it was B. He said that he quit only because he was taking a lot of drugs and used to have hallucinations.
EVERAGE: Oh dear.
SAGAL: I know. But he regretted the decision and of course has been performing ever since.
EVERAGE: Well, that's not my reason. I'm telling you that.
SAGAL: No, no. Well, what is your reason? Why are you giving up the glory of the footlights?
EVERAGE: You know, you're beginning to talk me into doing another farewell tour.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Dame Edna do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Well, she did so well I think you should rethink your farewell tour, Dame Edna.
EVERAGE: Oh no, I can't at the moment. But the fact of the matter is that whenever someone says - you'd know this well, Peter - when they say we're very excited about your show, you know it's finished.
SAGAL: I know. I always say the entertainment industry was founded when it was discovered that enthusiasm was free.
EVERAGE: (Laughter). You see, you have a talent far too rich for National Public Radio.
SAGAL: I can only agree. Dame Edna Everage is currently on tour with Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye - The Farewell Tour. She's in Seattle this weekend, but will be at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from January 24 through the 15 of March. Dame Edna, thank you so much.
EVERAGE: Thank you Peter.
SAGAL: Good luck. We look forward to talking to you again.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A DAME")
UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (SINGING) There is nothing like a Dame, nothing in the world. There is nothing you can name that is anything like a Dame. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.