Features

Jess Robinson: No Filter Interview

Having impressed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with her amazing impressions and fabulous voice, Jess Robinson has gone from strength to strength. This year Jess is taking a brand new show to Edinburgh and she has promised us no celebrity is safe in No Filter! Funny Women editor Kate Stone talked to Jess about her new show, how she found her voice(s) at school and what Alesha Dixon made of Jess’s Alesha Dixon!

Kate Stone: Tell us about your show No Filter

Jess Robinson: I’m so excited about this year’s show. Last year, following my appearance on Britain’s Got Talent – I performed quite a ‘family’ show. It was loads of fun and I’m super proud of what we created, but it was very ‘safe’. This year I’m coming back with NO FILTER – no celebrity is safe, and I can say what I REALLY think and feel! There are over 50 celebrity impressions in the show, from Melania Trump, Theresa May, Holly Willoughby and Kim Kardashian, to Christina Aguilera, Kate Bush, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande. I’ve got my brilliant band – Jessington World Of Adventures – with me and we’ll be playing some really funny original songs which I can’t wait to share, as well as the obligatory show-stopping multi-voice medlies. Plus it’s a different show every night as audiences will get to pick random celebrity voices – such as Liza Minelli, Paloma Faith, Britney – to sing their favourite random songs, which could be Ziggy Stardust, Despacito, I’ve Got A Brand New Combine Harvester…

KS: You have an incredible voice and are classically trained, what inspired you to go into comedy?

JR: I love singing, but when I realised I could make people laugh and combine the two, it seemed like a no-brainer. I did try to be a serious musical theatre performer for a bit, but I was crap at West End auditions, and I much prefer the people on the comedy circuit. Plus creating my own shows, rather than fitting into someone else’s mould feels fun and empowering.

KS: When did you discover you had a talent for impressions?

JR: When I was a school. My mum taught recorder and piano there, as well as running the second-hand uniform shop. I was pretty uncool as a result, so to get on a more even footing and as a defence mechanism, I started imitating her, before my friends could.

When I moved on to celebrities and singers the effect I had on my classmates and teachers was brilliant. Humour was my currency at school.

KS: Who is your favourite person to do impressions of?

JR: Still my mum, for sure. She’s a very good sport. Beyonce was a great voice when I was going through my divorce. Some of the girls on love island are great fun – it’s fun to surprise people with really current impressions. Generally, with these reality shows, voices are only valuable for a short time. But the classics are always there – Kate Bush is a ruddy legend. I love doing her voice, her huge eyes and pouty lips, but add the crazy dancing and it is even more fun!

KS: Have any of the people you impersonate seen you perform?!

JR: Yeah – I did Alesha Dixon to Alesha Dixon. Janet Street-Porter to Janet Street-Porter and Stacey Solomon to Stacey Solomon. They were all great sports, well, Alesha was complimentary, Stacey said I could be her best friend and Janet… didn’t hit me.

KS: Who are your favourite funny women?

JR: I love Dawn French. I adore Rachel Parris and Ellie Taylor. We’re mates and it’s been fun and exciting to watch their careers develop. Anna Morris is a great character comedian. I’m really looking forward to discovering some new funny women at the festival this year.

No Filter is at the Edinburgh Fringe from 2nd – 12th, 14th– 19th, 21st– 26th August. Tickets available here!