Barry Humphries

Camberwell, Melbourne, Australia

Biography

John Barry Humphries, AO, CBE (born 17 February 1934) is an Australian comedian, satirist, dadaist, artist, author and character actor, perhaps best known for his on-stage and television alter egos Dame Edna Everage, a Melbourne housewife and "gigastar", and Sir Les Patterson, Australia's foul-mouthed cultural attaché to the Court of St. James's. He is a film producer and script writer, a star of London's West End musical theatre, an award-winning writer and an accomplished landscape painter. For his delivery of dadaist and absurdist humour to millions, biographer Anne Pender described Humphries in 2010 as not only the most significant theatrical figure of our time … [but] the most significant comedian to emerge since Charlie Chaplin. Humphries' characters, especially Dame Edna Everage, have brought him international renown, and he has appeared in numerous films, stage productions and television shows. Originally conceived as a dowdy Moonee Ponds housewife who caricatured Australian suburban complacency and insularity, Edna has evolved over four decades to become a satire of stardom, the gaudily dressed, acid-tongued, egomaniacal, internationally feted Housewife Gigastar, Dame Edna Everage. Humphries' other major satirical character creation was the archetypal Australian bloke Barry McKenzie, who originated as the hero of a comic strip about Australians in London (with drawings by Nicholas Garland) which was first published in Private Eye magazine. The stories about "Bazza" (Humphries' nickname, as well as an Australian term of endearment for the name Barry) gave wide circulation to Australian slang, particularly jokes about drinking and its consequences (much of which was invented by Humphries), and the character went on to feature in two Australian films, in which he was portrayed by Barry Crocker. Humphries' other satirical characters include the "priapic and inebriated cultural attaché" Sir Les Patterson, who has "continued to bring worldwide discredit upon Australian arts and culture, while contributing as much to the Australian vernacular as he has borrowed from it", gentle, grandfatherly "returned gentleman" Sandy Stone, iconoclastic 1960s underground film-maker Martin Agrippa, Paddington socialist academic Neil Singleton, sleazy trade union official Lance Boyle, high-pressure art salesman Morrie O'Connor and failed tycoon Owen Steele. Description above from the Wikipedia article Barry Humphries, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

Movies

The Dame Edna Experience is a British television comedy talk-show hosted by Dame Edna Everage. It ran for twelve regular episodes on ITV, plus two Christmas specials. The first seven aired for the first time in 1987, the next seven in 1989. It was directed by Ian Hamilton and Alasdair MacMillan and produced by London Weekend Television. Regulars on the program, besides Dame Edna, were her "bridesmaid" Madge Allsop and Robin Houston who was the announcer, with orchestra conducted and arranged by Laurie Holloway. Each program featured several celebrity guests, usually three, but some programs included up to eight guests. There would also be other invited "guests" like Kurt Waldheim and Imelda Marcos who once introduced at stage right would fall victim to a trap door or something similar and fail to make it to their chair. The entire series was released on DVD by BBC Video in June 2004, and can now also be purchased as a complete set including the Christmas specials and the three An Audience with Dame Edna specials, plus other material. The series was released for Region 2 by Network DVD in the UK in 2007, as a 4-disc set. For reasons unknown, the Region 2 release does not include the 1989 Christmas special "The Dame Edna Satellite Experience" that ended the second series and featured Ursula Andress, Yehudi Menuhin, and Robert Kilroy-Silk. It does, however, include the one-off 1990 Christmas special A Night On Mount Edna with guests Mel Gibson, Charlton Heston, Gina Lollobrigida and Julio Iglesias.

More info
The Dame Edna Experience
1987