As impressive in real life as she is in wax form. courtesy of STG

"Hullo? Happy New Year!" said the deep male voice on the other end of the phone, dripping in Australian accent. It was Sir Barry Humphries, who is, technically, Dame Edna. But in the Ednaverse, Barry (Sir Barry) and Edna exist as two distinct individuals, Barry being the Dame's keeper and confidant. "Yes, yes. You're calling for Edna? One moment, let me get her." A tussle and whispering on the other end, as if he was handing the phone over. "Hulloooo!" Dame Edna's unmistakable voice came on the line. Charming!

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I was of course desperately over-prepared for our little intercontinental tête-à-tête (she was in Australia at the mo', soon on her way to Seattle to kick off the US leg of her "Glorious Goodbye" tour), and I had a lovingly composed litany of tidy and appropriately highbrow-slash-saucy questions with which to ply the lavender-haired, cat-eyed "giga-star." I'd read her biographies, YouTubed her relentlessly, Wikipediaed into the wee hours, crowdsourced, and brainstormed. And, most importantly, I had drawn upon the deep well of my own lifelong fandom. Dame Edna—or a hunk of molded wax very much like her—was my very first drag queen ever (ever!), after all. She made quite an impression.

I was 13 years old, deep in the bowels of Madame Tussauds wax museum in London, and there she was: beaming and bespangled and sculpted perfectly in wax. It was OMG at first sight. That goofy, grinning wax lady-who-was-really-a-guy raised serious questions in my desperate young heart and wrought delight from my soul—a completely invented individual with the good sense to invent herself as grandly as possible.

So I was bursting with pertinent, topical questions like "Dame Edna... if you were a Grindr pic, would you be a face, a torso, or a tush?" (One does not say "ass" to Edna.) But no. All that nonsense flew out the window the moment she opened her lavender lips.

"Adrian Ryan!" she cooed in the most Dame Edna–like fashion imaginable. "What a deeee-light, darling!" she cooed again. "Now, dear... I'm an Aquarius and you are March 16th... a Pisces, of course! Lovely! And I am just LOVING your Montana accent!" Suddenly all bets were off.

Dame Edna just hijacked my interview.

"I'm in the Southern hemisphere, darling, and I don't know what day it is or what time it is in Seattle or anything!" I informed her that it was Friday evening, 4:45 p.m. "Oh my goodness! It's Saturday morning in Australia! You'll be relieved to hear that the world has NOT yet ended."

If you are silly enough to have never heard of (and appropriately worshiped at the bedazzled heels of) the Dame, allow me: Her career has spanned seven decades and she's friends with bloody Cher. She's also bosom besties with Her Royal Royalness, Queen Elizabeth II—yes, the real one, not some boozy Piccadilly drag queen. (The Dame claims to keep her own toothbrush in Buckingham Palace, but she's given to wild flights of fancy sometimes, isn't she?) She's the original glitterati, a chanteuse of film, stage, and the printed page—but mostly in the UK, which excuses your ignorance. You have seen reflections of her in everyone, from our own Dina Martina to Tim Minchin. If she could be summed up in two words, they would be "enchantingly expository." She is not loved for outrageous talent, but for the very fact that she is a star. She name-drops and exaggerates and shares her glittering life steeped in the privilege of celebrity. She's famous because she IS, darlink. And she evolved my own hopeful notion of what could beshe is a heterosexual man with a lifelong career as a brilliant, hilarious woman. She's inspired generations of artists, performers, and gay little redheaded boys.

"Darling, let me tell you, you are a wonderful boy," she said. "And like me," she continued, "you love that show American Horror Story, don't you?" She was either psychic or seriously stalking my Twitter feed. "And Adrian, I've known about you for a long time," she fibbed charmingly. "And I believe you are a teetotaler also, correct?" At that wild inaccuracy I exploded with laughter.

I'm a gay, Irish nightlife writer! I may be many things, but "teetotaler" is not among them. "Well, my manager, Barry, used to be a MAJOR drinker, and he nearly destroyed himself. And he hasn't had a drink of alcohol in 43 years! Of course, that hasn't stopped him from embezzling from me..."

"Desperate people do desperate things," I said. Then we laughed for a minute solid.

"Now, Adrian, as you know, I'm coming to the Moore Theatre, where I have been twice before! And they've done it all up for me... they've even gotten rid of the rats!" All but the most glamorous rats, I assured her. "And I am kicking off my US farewell tour there—this is by MY request, Adrian!

"I shall spend all evening onstage being devoured by my Seattle possums. I've got lovely, beautiful dancers, and I sing five songs! But I am a family show—I don't use four-letter words. Do you think that will disappoint your readers?" I told her that, being quite Irish, it might disappoint me, but my readers would survive. "You know, I went to Dublin to receive the James Joyce Award, and I remarked that I was rather glad that the Irish economy had, well, crashed. I said I liked Dublin with the lights dim and the people shabby and mostly intoxicated. I didn't think prosperity suited Ireland. There was uproar! There was an editorial in the Dublin paper deploring me! But one goes to Dublin, one expects picturesque poverty, don't you agree? You even get a little bit of that in Seattle, don't you? I hope to see a bit of grunge!" I didn't have the heart to disabuse her of the notion—she seemed so excited about it.

"I am so looking so forward to coming to see you in Seattle! And please tell your readers that everyone comes out of my show feeling... better! Because what I am doing is sharing a little bit of my own experience up there... my hope... and my strength..." at which point, STOP LOOKING AT ME. There's something in my eye.

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And then I asked the only question from my prepared list I really wanted to know: "How can you leave us? How can you be so cruel?"

"Cruel? Darling—well, unlike a lot of people who do farewell tours, my good friend Cher for example, this is truly my farewell. But I will come back somehow... May I take this opportunity to thank all of your readers in advance for coming to see me at the Moore Theatre? You won't regret it, it's very personal and interactive, and I have LOVED my previous visits, and this will be the best ever! And I want to thank you, my darling Adrian. Good-bye, possum! Mwah-mwah!" recommended