After 60 Years Of Fabulousness, Dame Edna Embarks On Her Farewell Tour The housewife and superstar — a creation of Australian comedian Barry Humphries — says it's not entirely clear what her retirement will look like. "I'm a restless spirit," she says.
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After 60 Years Of Fabulousness, Dame Edna Embarks On Her Farewell Tour

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After 60 Years Of Fabulousness, Dame Edna Embarks On Her Farewell Tour

After 60 Years Of Fabulousness, Dame Edna Embarks On Her Farewell Tour

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dame Edna Everage is on her last tour. See her while you can.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAME EDNA EVERAGE: Hello persons.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: "Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour" is now in Los Angeles. It will go on to San Francisco, Palm Desert and Toronto. The grande dame of the stage concludes her tour in April in Washington, D.C., after 60 years of making audiences laugh, weep, have acid reflux and ruminate deeply on the human experience. The ever lovely Dame Edna joins us now from the studios of NPR West. Thank you so much for being with us.

EVERAGE: Oh, Scott, hello darling. May I call you darling? Because I feel that when we last had a meaningful exchange...

SIMON: Yes.

EVERAGE: ...A sort of intimacy grew up.

SIMON: Yeah.

EVERAGE: It was as though you were on the next pillow.

SIMON: (Laughter)Well, I kind of remember that. It's coming back to me now. We had a lovely chat, certainly.

EVERAGE: We did. And wasn't it popular? The ratings soared.

SIMON: Yes, that's true. They plummeted since, of course because we haven't had to back.

EVERAGE: I'm going to help them again.

SIMON: Well, I certainly hope so. Now, this farewell tour - does that mean that when it's all done, you're going to sit at home in that suburb of Melbourne that I'm not sure how to pronounce?

EVERAGE: I never do. I'm a restless spirit, Scott.

SIMON: Right.

EVERAGE: And I'm not like a number of stars that I could mention...

SIMON: Yeah.

EVERAGE: ...Who announce farewell tours, collect the money and then come back a year later and expect to do it all over again. I consider that dishonest. It doesn't mean I'll disappear.

SIMON: Yes.

EVERAGE: I might do television things. You and I might have another meaningful...

SIMON: Well, I certainly hope so.

EVERAGE: ...Dialogue.

SIMON: Yeah.

EVERAGE: But on this tour, I really find, not just strange hotels - even though I'm in the luxury penthouse so often - but airports, darling. I mean, I have to pretty well take all my clothes off. I have to subject myself to pretty ruthless searches...

SIMON: Oh, oh...

EVERAGE: ...Some of them an affront to my modesty, frankly.

SIMON: Yeah, I should - I should think. May I ask you a question?

EVERAGE: Of course, that is your role.

SIMON: (Laughter) Thank you for reminding me.

EVERAGE: Throw it at me. Sock it to me, Scotty.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Is it - what about this story I've heard that you are responsible for introducing Kate Middleton to Prince William?

EVERAGE: Yes, well, it was an ugly thing. I've done a lot of that. It's not always paid off. But Prince William, of course, is a lovely boy, but he's shy. He's very - like a lot of tall men, he's very, very shy. And I thought I met this girl, little Kate Middleton, and I thought something told me that they would click.

SIMON: Oh.

EVERAGE: And I arranged a little lunch. And we were chatting away, but I could see the chemistry. And I dropped my napkin, and I just had a peep under the table. And I saw Prince William's beautiful shoe brushing Kate's calf.

SIMON: Oh, my word.

EVERAGE: There was a little bit of that under-the-table eroticism is what I would call it.

SIMON: Yes, certainly.

EVERAGE: But I was very, very delighted to see that the chemistry was working. You know, they're very intellectually similar.

SIMON: May I ask, Dame Edna, what is your - what is the key to remaining so vibrant after so many years on tour?

EVERAGE: It's very simple. Now, I looked at my face about 10 years ago, Scotty, and I thought to myself, well, have I done a pact with the devil? Why am I looking so young and so unconventionally lovely?

SIMON: (Laughter) Yes.

EVERAGE: Why? And...

SIMON: Yes.

EVERAGE: I thought what I need to do is to age myself in some way. I have to look normal. People won't believe it.

SIMON: Yeah, right.

EVERAGE: So I went to Brazil...

SIMON: (Laughter) Yes.

EVERAGE: ...And I saw the top man there, of course a cosmetic surgeon. And I said look, I need to look my age.

SIMON: Yes.

EVERAGE: He said well, Edna, your hair is still a natural - very, very natural mauve...

SIMON: Yeah...

EVERAGE: ...I was born, by the way, Scott, with this color.

SIMON: Oh, my.

EVERAGE: I was. It's very unusual.

SIMON: Yes, yes, yes and lovely, too.

EVERAGE: Very unusual.

SIMON: Yeah.

EVERAGE: And it is beautiful, isn't it? You felt it. You're touching it now.

SIMON: (Laughter).

EVERAGE: But I said to the doctor what can you do? And he said well, Edna, you must have some little crow's feet. You know what crow's feet are, Scott?

SIMON: The little kind of cross hatches on your...

EVERAGE: In the corner of your eyes, yes.

SIMON: Yes, yes.

EVERAGE: Do you know what my mother used to say? Crow's feet are the dried up beds of old smiles.

SIMON: Awww.

EVERAGE: Isn't that lovely?

SIMON: That is beautiful.

EVERAGE: Then he said we'll give you some crow's feet. And he said and what you need - he said your neckline is perfect. You haven't got that horrible turkey neck. He said you need a little soft double chin, a soft, little pillow, a little cushion under your chin.

SIMON: Very thoughtful, yeah.

EVERAGE: Well, I said, can you do that? He said yes. And do you know what he did? I saw him delving in a sort of white box, a freezer.

SIMON: (Laughter) Yes.

EVERAGE: And he pulled out a little shrink-wrapped package. It looked like a chicken breast.

SIMON: (Laughter). Yes.

EVERAGE: And he said we'll stitch this on...

SIMON: (Laughter).

EVERAGE: ...And it'll settle in, and that will give you a lovely double chin.

SIMON: (Laughter).

EVERAGE: And I said what is that? And he said, well, that was Elizabeth Taylor's left love handle.

SIMON: (Laughter).

EVERAGE: Elizabeth Taylor's love handle is now my soft, little chin. And if you look at it very closely...

SIMON: Yes?

EVERAGE: ...You can see some indentations, which are...

SIMON: Richard Burton. Yes, go ahead.

EVERAGE: Richard Burton's fingernails.

SIMON: (Laughter). How beautiful they should wind up on your chin...

EVERAGE: So isn't beautiful? There's history in my face. History. And I have been going strong for about 60 years, a bit longer than you, but then I'm a bit older and, you know, I'm approaching 60.

SIMON: (Laughter).

EVERAGE: I am approaching 60, but Scott, unfortunately, from the wrong direction.

(LAUGHTER)

EVERAGE: Oh, darling. Well, thank you and thank you - thank you so much. And I want to thank all your listeners for having me at their place.

SIMON: Well, we thank you. Dame Edna Everage. Her "Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour" is on the road until April. Thank you so much, your dameness. It's always wonderful to speak with you. I hope we'll speak again.

EVERAGE: We will, Scotty. Lots of love.

SIMON: Thank you.

EVERAGE: Bye possums.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WISH ME LUCK AS YOU WAVE ME GOODBYE")

GRACIE FIELDS: (Singing) Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Cheerio, here I go on my way. Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.

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