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An Ab Fab sense of humour: it's very hard to offend Australians


The stars of Absolutely Fabulous have heaped praise on the Australian sense of humour, saying Aussies are much better at taking a joke than Americans.

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Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are in Sydney promoting the first big screen outing for their notorious attention-seeking characters, publicist-to-the-stars Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and fashion editor Patsy Stone (Lumley).

The film had its colourful premiere in the State Theatre in Sydney on Sunday night, complete with pink lights and a cavalcade of glamorous drag queens in attendance.

“We sort of think (Australia’s) their spiritual home, Eddie and Patsy’s,” Saunders said in Sydney yesterday.

“It’s very hard to offend Australians. It’s much easier to offend Americans but Australians love it.”

Lumley added: “I think the humour is so similar.”

The TV show and film satirise the world of celebrity, fashion and public relations and can seem a little close to the bone at times, but the actors say they’ve surprisingly never really offended anyone.

“We’ve never had a backlash,” Saunders said.

“I’ve had a back wax but not a backlash!”

Lumley remembers one person, though, who did take issue with the show when it began on TV 25 years ago.

Famous Londoner Lynne Franks ran a PR company that took care of some major accounts including London Fashion Week and designer Jean Paul Gaultier. According to Lumley, Franks claimed Saunders based the zany Edina Monsoon on her.

“She was a little bit huffy for a little bit but then quite thrilled,” Lumley said.

Franks ended up feeling privileged to be associated with the TV juggernaut that captured the attention of the world.

“Eventually people just longed to have their name mentioned, good or bad, so there was no backlash; the opposite in fact,” Lumley said.

As for Patsy Stone, her doppelganger is a little more rock ’n’ roll.

“She’s very like Keith Richards,” Saunders said.

But just like the Rolling Stones icon, many wonder how Stone could still be alive considering her on-screen antics.

If Patsy’s not emerging from a bathroom with a dusting of cocaine under her nose, she’s brandishing a bottle of champagne and smoking a cigarette.

“She’s literally got nothing inside her … except for a pair of fluttering old tattered lungs,” Lumley said

“She couldn’t be alive, she doesn’t eat,” Saunders added.

“I think occasionally she checks in to a clinic and things are pumped in and out and she keeps going for another year.

“I think she must occasionally be sent to Switzerland in a canister and then sent back alive.”

Absolutely Fabulous opens in Australian cinemas on August 4



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