What’s odd is that someone who was so clearly born to be on stage has such a heralded background in radio and podcasting. Josie Long has numerous credits to her name including the Book Shambles podcast with Robin Ince (This is the podcast that encouraged me to get a ticket for the show), the critically acclaimed Radio 4 show Short Cuts and numerous TV appearances. But it is in stand up where she made her name, winning the BBC Comedy New Comedy Award at 17 and being nominated on three occasions for Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. I knew to expect a smart hour, as did the mass of hipsters who joined me in making up the audience.
Right from the opening she so obviously loves being on stage and her joy is infectious. It’s often a struggle to get a crowd interested post 11pm, but through pure happiness she has everyone on board. She opens here by explaining this is a three night run at Summerhall just to chat about whatever she wants, beginning with the knee brace she’s wearing and her bad posture.
This segues perfectly into her first topic of the evening, growing older. Many in attendance tonight share her amazement that there are teenagers now referring to the nineties as if it’s a retro past that’s come back into fashion and this is a big part of the section. There is also her new relationship with someone she met at last years Fringe and with so many shows this year focus on divorce and break ups it’s nice to hear a comedian focus on how much fun it can be to share your life with someone, especially the inside jokes.
In the modern world it seems as though a social media goes hand in hand with broadcasting but she rejects this, shutting down her online presence in recent months. This comes after she received rancid and sickening abuse from those on the political right after expressing her opinions in public. She doesn’t want to pin this on men, but it is where 99% of the abuse comes from and she intelligently indicates the lack of human understanding is one of the most awful things online.
In her final section she visits the topic of her upcoming radio show about science and specifically an interview that she recorded about insects. Although this reading of facts may be tedious from most other performers, her excitability wins big laughs from the room and you have to hand it to her, those facts are pretty incredible. It sounds like the radio show will be well worth a listen.
The show finishes with a return to politics, as the stage is invaded by the far left, chanting “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”. They stage a mock sit in and one of their members is invited to introduce the Fair Fringe campaign, aiming to gain fair pay for all Fringe workers.
This has makings of another potential award winning show, but is still very much a work in progress. The material is clever and thoughtful, but could do with a few more big laughs. Josie Long’s attitude to being on stage means that whatever she chooses to do will be entertaining, even if it is reading out facts.