AGE is no laughing matter for Lynn Ruth Miller – or rather it very much is.
Lynn bills herself as the world’s oldest comedienne and, as she’s just about to turn 85, she reckons she’s on pretty safe ground.
Remarkably, she was 71 before she took to the stand-up circuit and she has subsequently appeared alongside Robin Williams and Amy Schumer.
Now, as she gets set to play a string of dates in Scotland, American-born Lynn has told how she owes the success of her later-life career to Edinburgh.
And how she’s thrilled to be a role model for others looking to live their lives to the fullest.
“Edinburgh made me,” says Lynn, who was born in Ohio and now lives in Brighton.
“I started going as a punter in 1988 and then became a reviewer, so when I started doing comedy I knew all the venues and got bookings in 2005.
“It was a terrible show but it was the beginning of me realising I could actually do this thing.
“I have so many fond memories of Edinburgh. I did the Burlesque Festival there last year and all these beautiful girls were ripping off their clothes with bodies I’d kill to have. Then I get up there with no waistline and being one inch taller than a dwarf and everybody gave me a standing ovation.
“I’ll be in it again this year and I love it so much. Every wonderful thing in the world has happened to me in Edinburgh, it’s the reason I perform and the reason I fell in love with comedy.”
Lynn was in San Francisco, writing and teaching in adult education when she decided to make a massive change and try comedy when she was in her 70s.
She worked alongside Williams shortly before his death and says US TV and film star Schumer had earlier been a massive help.
“She’s a big part of me still being in comedy. She had heard me and told the booker I was funny. The booker hadn’t thought so, but because Amy said I was she started hiring me and I started getting paid for what I was doing.”
Twice-married Lynn last week compered the Old Comedian of the Year competition in London, designed to recognise over-35s on the circuit and still hanging on to the day job.
As someone more than twice that age who gave up that security, Lynn is aware she’s seen as an inspiration.
“I strongly recommend that people get off the merry-go-round and pursue their dream,” said Lynn.
“Health has improved so much and we’re in such better shape that you don’t have to be like your grandparents or even your parents.
“And people have all these ‘what ifs’ that they use to stop them.
“When I’m told I’m an inspiration I’m not sure how to handle it as I think you can do what you want. Comedy is a bit of an addiction for me.
“I was alone, I had no partner, no family and suddenly I’m the centre of attention wherever I go. People say they love me and that’s a lovely thing to hear.”
As well as her Edinburgh dates Lynn will also be appearing in Glasgow and at the Crieff Comedy Festival at the end of next month.
Despite her veteran status and all her experience, Lynn admits she suffers badly from stage fright.
“I’m still a complete wreck, I can’t eat before I go on.
“An audience is like a living thing and every one is different. It’s up to me to make them laugh and if I don’t then I’m not doing my job.”
And although she has a busy comedy schedule, Lynn says she still has plenty of other things she wants to do.
“I want to travel the world, fall in love, get a puppy. I’ve got a million goals.”