Award-winning impressionist, singer and podcaster Jess Robinson is using her outrageous talents to get us in the Christmas mood this year with her new show The Twelve Days of Jessmas. Kicking off the first of 14 shows tonight at London’s Crazy Coqs and ending on 19th December at The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, Jess and her band promise a fabulous evening featuring a mix of Christmas carols and celebrities as you’ve never heard them before! We caught up with Jess to talk about the show and how she discovered her talent…
Funny Women: Tell us about your show The Twelve Days of Jessmas.
Jess Robinson: The 12 Days of Jessmas is my first ever festive tour. Is now the right time to mention I’m Jewish? Well Jew-ish. My mum plays the organ in the village church and I’ve got a serious addiction to pigs-in-blankets. The idea of this show is to get us into the Christmas mood. And that doesn’t just mean getting pissed, although it can help. The audience can expect impressions from Adele to Priti Patel. There’ll be mashups, original songs, and a bellyful of laughs. I’ll be accompanied by my brilliant band Jessington World of Adventures – I promise I don’t name everything after myself.
The audience will get to choose famous voices from a Celebrity Selection Box and pair them with randomly chosen Christmas songs, which the boys and I will perform on the spot. Where else could you see Kate Bush performing Frosty the Snowman complete with interpretive dance, or Cardi B rapping Santa Claus is Coming to Town? Basically, we want you to stagger out of the theatre with your face aching from smiling and laughing and feeling warm and fuzzy.
FW: So you will be taking song requests?
JR: Yes! And one lucky audience member will get a song written about them. On the spot.
FW: Have you got a favourite impression to do?
JR: It really depends on how I’m feeling. If I’m in a silly mood Bjork is always fun. I think my Billie Holiday always surprises people. I’ve somehow managed to get an old record crackle in my voice at the same time as imitating her, so it sounds like an old vinyl record. I love Greta Thunberg, Stacey Solomon, Kim Kardashian. Anyone who’s far away from my own voice gives me a lot of satisfaction. There are some women who I don’t care if they’re good or evil. Only if they have a distinctive voice. What I’m trying to say is… I really miss Theresa May.
FW: How did you find out you had a talent for impressions?
JR: Well I used to mimic my mum. She taught recorder lessons at my school – so uncool. I thought I was the first one to take the mickey then my friends wouldn’t. Then I moved on to the other teachers in the school… then celebrities and pop stars. Anything to distract from my mum being a teacher, and try to get invited to parties!
FW: As an impressionist, do you think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
JR: Hahaha! Not if you’re Katie Hopkins or Priti Patel. Definitely, if you’re Amy Winehouse or Greta Thunberg or Billie Holiday. It really depends on the subject. I approach some with affection and others with little to zero respect, depending on who they are and what I think of them. As a rule though, I think other women should be lifted up and celebrated! So 99% of my impressions come from a place of love.
FW: Speaking of lifting other women up, who are your favourite funny women?
JR: I think Jessica Fostekew is brilliant and I loved her show Hench. It’s also really exciting to see how Jayde Adams’s career has taken off. I think Athena Kugblenu is really talented too and Rosie Jones is a potty-mouthed legend.
The Twelve Days of Jessmas starts today, find out more dates and venues here!