Duet for One: Barry Humphries and Dame Edna Chat With Playbill

By Blake Ross
30 Mar 2010

Playbill: Barry, you've been Dame Edna's "manager" for a long time. It must be a full circle moment to bring her back to Broadway.

Barry Humphries: From my point of view, it's lovely to be on Broadway because I've been connected with this show for a long time. I've been her manager since she was a young woman. I do my own show, too, in Australia and in England, and Edna has been my guest on many occasions. To be back on Broadway is marvelous because it is the center of world theatre. To have a success on Broadway is to have a major world triumph.

PB: How did you feel about the tiff between Michael and Edna when the shows were first individually announced?

BH: It was very, very embarrassing. Edna really lost it and it was upsetting because Michael Feinstein is quite a sensitive man and Edna was treating him as though he was just some ordinary old piano player. There is another side to this woman that her public does not know about.

PB:How do you deal with it when she gets into these tiffs with other celebrities?

BH: I have to always clean up after Edna. It's a very unenviable task. I have to patch things up, but I have succeeded in at least getting them onto the stage together in this show. And I think the audiences will be grateful for that.

PB: What do you see next for her?

BH: It may well be that she's going into politics. She's very interested in American politics. We've got some very interesting women in American politics at the moment there's Sarah Palin, there's Hillary Clinton, and in the background, there's Nancy Pelosi. Edna feels that she's all three of them rolled into one.

PB: Do you think, come the next election, she might try and run for a big office, maybe give Obama a run for his money?

BH: I'm giving you an absolute exclusive: Edna intends to run for office in the United States of America. It will be the first time you've ever had, well, an Australian president.

PB: I don't know if that's legal, but I'm sure that you two will find a way to do it.

BH: There is a way. I'm talking to lawyers, international lawyers as it is.

PB: [Laughs]. So what is next for you, Barry, apart from your work with Edna?

BH: I've written a new book about my life with Edna. It's called "Handling Edna" and it will be published in America later this year. Meanwhile, I'm spending most of the time writing and also painting because I'm quite a successful artist. If I devoted my whole time to Dame Edna, I'd go crazy.