Interview with Lynne Jassem

In the run up to Voice's latest coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we have dozens of interviews with performers like Lynne Jassem, who we'll be seeing up there.

Interview with Lynne Jassem

Firstly, could you introduce yourself, and give a quick summary of your show?

My name is Lynne Jassem, but you can call me Billy. My show is about a ten-year old professional child on the Perry Como TV Show in 1957 who juggles her stage mother (the ex-Rockette), gender confusion and mortality….all while tap dancing.

What is your earliest arts memory?

I was 5 and my dancing school had a deal with Macys dept. store that there could be a small show every Thursday on this tiny stage Macys provided. I sang that ol' favorite: "an apple on a stick" and broke into a tap dance. I felt back then…"dis is jest da beginning".

What first encouraged you to become a performer?

My mother, the ex-Rockette. She never had enough time on stage during her short career. She was a very traditional stage mom…one hand always on my back, pushing.

Do you remember your first professional performance, and how did it go?

Well, unfortunately it didn't go so well. It was in my synagogue in Queens N.Y. and I completely forgot the lyrics. I was too small to reach the microphone….and when it came to dancing…I was doing my own material while everyone else was doing a rehearsed routine.

But I said to myself…"dis is jest da beginning"

What do you feel is the best thing about your job?

When my show clicks and I can feel the love from the audience…it is like a wave that encircles us…and I can do no wrong. It is a very spiritual experience for me.

Conversely, what is the worst?

When I don't hear a peep from the audience …there is deadly silence…and I begin to question whether or not there is still anyone out there.

How do you decide whether or not a show has gone well?

I feel it… I know it… the timing is good and the audience is responsive... but it is a very personal feeling.

If you could work with anybody, dead or alive, who would you choose to collaborate with?

Oh myyyy…there are so many…Sid Cesar, John Leguizamo, Billy Crystal…

What made you want to come to Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Because it is the Grand daddy of all Fringes. The biggest, best and most enjoyed. And I love Haggis!

Is performing at EdFringe different from 'traditional' shows?

Yes, in that you perform 24 shows. There is a constant crowd of people, you can go wild in the street and hopefully bring in more people to your show…and the number of wonderful talented performers is like nowhere else.

If you could travel back in time and give 16 year-old you one piece of advice, what would it be?

Believe in yourself, trust yourself, work hard and follow your dreams… it was meant to be.

What advice would you give to young people who want to enter the industry?

The same advice I would give myself, but I would stress working hard; the theatre isn't easy and comedy is the hardest art form. You have to keep at it for years and rise above being discouraged.

Do you have social media that our readers can follow you on?

Yes…I am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I have a web site at:

Where can people catch your show during EdFringe?

I will be at sweet grassmarket (venue 18) as follows:

Aug 5-9, 11-14, 16-21, 24-28

I will be on stage at 2:15pm….would love to see ya shiny faces


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