As seen on TV

Jane Lynch: ‘Glee’ upped my career

 
 
 Lynch
Lynch
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Jane Lynch zipped off the tracksuit and left the Cheerios behind. The Glee star went cabaret.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winner made her nightclub debut last week with a four-night stand in front of a three-piece band at 54 Below, a club in the cellar of what was a notorious, coke-fueled disco in the 1970s.

The Illinois native, 53, had been roaring to take a stage again since she made her Broadway debut last summer as Miss Hannigan in Annie.

The actress recently sat down with The Associated Press to talk about her career and what’s happening with the sixth and final season of Glee. (Co creator Ryan Murphy told WetPaint.com that the series will end on an optimistic, nostalgic note and will be a reunion of sorts).

Why did it take so long for you to do cabaret?

I didn’t have any conscious plans to do Broadway, but I always wanted to. So when I got the Annie gig, everything in me screamed ‘No!’ but of course I said, ‘Yes.’ I was so happy I did it, and I got the bug back. I saw ( Glee co-star) Matt Morrison perform here, and I said to myself, ‘Self, this would be fun for you, Jane.’ And then I got the call:.

What’s the latest with “Glee?”

We’re going into a sixth season. I think it’s going to be half a season. I think we’re going back to McKinley High. I think. I don’t know any of this for sure. But that’s the word on the street.

What’s the show’s legacy?

I don’t think you can underestimate truly how powerful this show has been and will continue to be: It’s the place where you can go where you’re celebrated for who you are. It’s this safe refuge for kids. That’s what we’re all looking for. We’re still in high school, a lot of us.

What did playing Sue, the cheerleading coach, do for your career?

It was a total game-changer. They would not have asked me to do Annie if I weren’t on Glee. At the time I was kind of known for the Christopher Guest movies. I was enjoying my career. I was happy doing guest spots here and there. But this really upped it.

Whom do you look up to in this industry?

Neil Patrick Harris. He’s all over the place but in a good way. There’s a method in what seems to be the madness of him doing this and then doing that, hosting this and then doing that. I’m always watching Neil from the corner of my eye.

Your improv skills are on display on “Hollywood Game Night.” How do you prepare your star guests?

What I really learned is that if I’m not relaxed, they’re not relaxed, and the audience is not relaxed. So I just really have to be relaxed. And I do clunkers — I have jokes that don’t go over. Somehow they get on the air, and they look funny. I don’t know how they do it. They funny-ize them.

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