“Hijacking our name is also used to silence all women by frightening them into expressing an opinion or legitimate concern,” the group’s statement said. “No one’s birth name should be demeaned or used to demean others.”
Over the years, the term “Karen” has become global slang for a certain kind of woman—white, straight, middle-aged and humorless, with an inverted bob—who is all too quick to ask for the manager or call the police for the most trivial offences.
But Pritchard, who works part-time at Melbourne’s Karen’s dinner — a 1950s-style burger joint on Lygon Street whose motto is “great food, terrible service” — said her show was about being sassy, being self-reliant and celebrating Karen’s idea.
“If your name is Karen and you come to the restaurant, you get a free drink. We absolutely love Karens,” said Pritchard.
“When someone has the Karen haircut, we celebrate. For me, this show is about embracing, being assertive and standing up for yourself.”
Pritchard vividly recalled the first time she went to Karen’s Diner in Sydney after seeing videos of the restaurant on TikTok of her young niece and nephew.
The staff threw a menu card at Pritchard, cursed her and called her “Grandma.” She loved every minute of it and later got a job at the Melbourne outlet.
“It’s really such an amazing experience to see the different types of people that come along,” she said. “It’s pretty remarkable to go to a restaurant and be treated like shit. But it’s so funny. People love it.”
Last year, Pritchard turned her mental health struggles into a comedy act for the Melbourne comedy festival.
This year, Karen van Pritchard juggles the challenges of a failed marriage, Generation Z employees, and caring for her two children, Gucci Pucci and Lewis.
Pritchard said people could expect great burgers, terrible service, and lots of laughter on her show.
Children visiting Karen’s Diner must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from March 29 to April 24.