Busker HoF 65 – Master Lee Interview


This Episode proudly sponsored by:

This episode is proudly sponsored by Dolphin Creative – a company who is proud to support street theatre and all of the incredible characters who make up this world. Where ever you perform: Dolphin Creative salutes you! For more information please visit DolphinCreative.org – Huge thanks to Stuart and his team for sponsoring this episode and two more to come!

Episode Notes:

Comments: William Lee became Master Lee when he found his character and transformed himself from a fairly generic comedy juggler to the Kung-Fu Comic. This transformation allowed him to become one of the most recognized street performers in Washington Square Park for years and at one point during the interview Will jokes that if Robert Nelson was King of the 80’s, then perhaps he was King of the 90’s.

Will’s career has spanned more than three decades, but not all of it has been spent on the Streets. Stand-up comedy, story telling and play writing have all provided creative inspiration for a guy who seems to need to reinvent himself on a regular basis or else get numb from the sheer repetition that can be one of the most challenging aspects about making performance a career.

Magic Brian and Eric Amber connected with William Lee in the “Ultimate Green Room” – a cool tree house in a botanical garden in the East Village in New York City to discuss Will’s journey as a street performer, the things he’s done following his street show days and his recent return to doing shows on the street again.

And now a few words from Master Lee –

My advice to beginning buskers is: don’t steal my material and put your money in a Vanguard index fund. Street performing is like being on permanent summer vacation, enjoy the wave.

What’s the best thing about street performing? Freedom. What’s the worst thing about street performing? Freedom.

The hardest thing is once you quit you won’t have a mattress full of money and you’ll miss a lot of great performers, except for Gazzo.

Bonus Images from The Interwebs with commentary by Will:


William Lee with Brian Dube, legendary juggling prop maker.


Halifax Buskers Festival, 1988 Master Lee, Lee Ross, Checkerboard Guy and Brian Hulse in The Checkerboard Guy’s Checkered Mini!


Lee Ross & Master Lee in Halifax, 1988


December, 1989 -Butterfly man, Paddy Bramwells, Lee Ross, Master Lee in Australia 1990.


Master Lee in Washington Square Park in NYC.


August, 1999 – Group photo at the Windsor International Street Performer Festival.


July, 2002 – Edmonton Street Performers Festival, Master Lee performing the classic juggling and eating an apple. Photo by: Dan Shulruff


July, 2002 – Edmonton Street Performers’ festival, Master Lee with volunteer, chopping a cucumber on his stomach blindfolded. Photo by: Dan Shulruff


May 2008 – Master Lee & violist, Carol Gimbel performing the Bach Cello Suites. Photo by: Kevin Parnell


August, 2008 – Master Lee chopping a cucumber on a volunteer’s stomach at the Pacific National Exhibition. Photo by: David Aiken


August, 2008 – Master Lee and the aftermath of breaking boards on fire at the Pacific National Exhibition. Photo by: David Aiken


Master Lee in Washington Square Park in NYC.


April, 2013 – Master Lee storytelling at the Five Boro Story Project.


July, 2014 – Master Lee performing at the Ottawa Busker’s Festival

And finally – here’s the PNE Street Star’s Video that David Aiken, The Checkerboard Guy, produced after the 2008 Pacific National Exhibition click on the image to access the video on Vimeo!


And thanks again to: Dolphin Creative for sponsoring this episode!


Find out more about Sponsoring this Podcast by emailing cbg@BuskerHallofFame.com

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