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Thursday, July 2, 2009

What a joy, what a life, what a chance

This was supposed to post last night but the Internet at my hotel is slow and inconsistent -- I was finally able to post photos, though, so a summary picture post of the trip will be up Sunday.

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It’s funny how things work out. I grew up watching so many great British sitcoms on PBS Saturday nights with my mom. We loved “Keeping Up Appearances,” “Are You Being Served?” (aw, Zoe just told me that Mrs. Slocombe died yesterday!) “As Time Goes By” (come on, Judi Dench in a comedy TV show!) and, of course, "The Vicar of Dibley."

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Me with the amazing Dawn French -- "Vicar of Dibley," "Wild West" and one of the million underrated British actors in "Harry Potter."

A few years later, I discovered the brilliant "Absolutely Fabulous" and was immediately hooked.

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Me with the legendary Jennifer Saunders -- creator, writer and star of "Absolutely Fabulous," "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle" and "Jam and Jerusalem."

In high school, Teddy, Brittany, Kristen and I used to sit around watching hours of Ab Fab, reciting the lines back and forth. Just this week, Kristen replied to an email with the classic Edina command to “Stand on the bloody bin bag!” Guys, if you haven’t sent this show, you’re missing out. I firmly stand by the opinion that “Ab Fab” is the funniest show ever. Hands-down.

I digress. So I loved these two shows independently for years and then I made the crucial discovery. Ab Fab aired for 40 minutes on Comedy Central and to fill the remaining 20 minutes of the hour, the channel ran “French and Saunders.". Suddenly I realized that the stars of my two favorite British shows had been comedy partners and best friends since uni and were better-known for their double act than any of their individual work. It was life-changing. (Or something like that.)

Last year they decided to retire the double act and although they still perform and produce together, they’re not doing the sketch show anymore. There was a huge final tour of the UK which I naturally couldn’t attend since A) I was still in university in the US and then B) I was living in Korea. Shame.

But wait! I book a week’s holiday in Sydney, Australia, and literally a few weeks after everything is booked, I discover that French and Saunders are taking their farewell tour to Australia! To Sydney! The same week I’m there! Luck!

And so tonight was the big show. How was it? Well, me, a gaggle of gay men and a million mother-daughter-best friend pairings loved it.

As it’s a farewell tour, the show is mostly classic characters and sketches. The first sketch they ever wrote, and the last one. The sketch that inspired “Absolutely Fabulous.” “Mamma Mia!” Dot and May. Even Madonna makes a cameo.

After the show, Dawn and Jennifer were both SO nice to all of the waiting fans, taking time to sign and take photos with everyone. Dawn is hilarious and quick in-person, joking with everyone and laughing non-stop. Jennifer meanwhile is quieter and shy, much thinner and more beautiful in person than on TV.

So really, it IS funny how things work out. Here I am, an American living in Korea who goes on holiday to Australia and is able to see her two favorite British comediennes.

I love my life.

Some friends and I are going back tomorrow night to try to meet the girls one final time before they never tour again. And to find out if they're bringing the show to America because I heard a rumor... (Teddy, don't start freaking out yet!)

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