Josie Long

Josie Long

In 1999, Josie Long won the BBC New Comedy Award at the age of just 17 - making her too young for the champagne that came as part of the prize. Despite the boost the award would have given to her comedy career, she took time off performing to complete her English degree at Oxford university, returning in 2003.

Following the break, she was named best newcomer in the Chortle awards in 2005, and best breakthrough act the following year. In 2006, she also scooped best newcomer in the if.comedy awards for her solo Edinburgh debut, Kindness and Exuberance.

She was subsequently nominated for the Edinburgh comedy award three years running: 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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Josie Long: Re-Enchantment

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Josie Long embraced lockdown as a chance to spend more time with her young daughters and to masquerade as a mob boss. And there’s a similar mix of the sweet and the brutally uncompromising running throughout her Fringe return.

With the giddy enthusiasm of one who can’t wait to share all her news, Long has experienced some significant changes in the last couple of years, turning 40, having her second child, moving to Glasgow and getting diagnosed with ADHD.

Effectively compounding her recent personal past and the politically topical present, the aspic inertia of lockdown and the current tumult over wage strikes, she brands anyone who devoted themselves to self-improvement during the pandemic in the vilest terms, a label she delights in liberally tossing around throughout the show.

One of the threads running throughout Re-Enchantment is why she fled London, tired of being on the losing side politically, and how she’s energised by Glasgow’s radical tradition, inspiring her to speak out on the creeping erosion of civil liberties.

Long is rarely characterised as a political comic, which seems wrong, not least given the agitating spirit which takes hold in the second half of this show especially. As ever, however, the polemic is couched in smiling warmth and good humour, her unbowed optimism even as the Tories triumph again and again.

She chiefly exploits her ADHD diagnosis as an excuse for her poor behaviour and curses her brain, incapable of remembering important matters but instantly recalling advert jingles and flyers from her youth. Though that’s tempered by an awareness that, while her comedian partner was out on tour, the mother-of-two reluctantly had to be the ‘adult’ in her household.

The rampant pest infestation that overwhelms their home challenges her smug delight in her Glaswegian socialist, artisanal indie wonderland. And it forces her into some regrettable bug genocide, the true nature of her desperate cull kept from encroaching upon her daughters’ innocence. It also forced her into an upfront confrontation with an exterminator demanding to know her views on Brexit.

Suffice to say, Long has little patience for whinging right-wingers and little truck with the narrative of cancel culture, mocking the monstering of ‘The Woke Brigade’ as if it were any kind of coordinated movement. If anything, she feels pressured by the looming threat of the Daily Mail and its ilk into keeping schtum about her thoughts, censorship in comedy she decries before blatantly blurting her views anyway.

Encompassing Scottish independence, the future of the Royal Family and the fallout from Covid, her ‘real opinions’, that she supposedly can’t share, get pretty dark, spiky balls in what’s otherwise a generally velvety glove of warm inclusiveness.

For someone still so childlike and welcoming in her bearing, Long leaves you in absolutely no doubt about where she stands on any given political matter, name-checking individual bills about to become law that will further restrict liberties and human rights. Buddhist principles teach her that direct confrontation might not be the best means of opposing her enemies. But she can still be really, really sarcastic.

Despite her anger, self-mockery of her more ‘bougie’ instincts and acceptance that she’s abandoned the good fight to an extent by leaving England, Long convinces you that she’s found her place in a community spirit denied to her in London, a real sense of finding more common ground and fiery purpose. And that can only bring more power to her elbow as she continues to evolve as a comic.

Josie Long: Re-Enchantment is on at Monkey Barrel Comedy at 2.50pm

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Published: 16 Aug 2022

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2001

The Comedy Clone

Edinburgh Fringe 2004

Big Value Comedy Show Late

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Free Gaza!

Josie Long: Cara Josephine

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Josie Long

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Josie Long: Tender

Josie Long: Tender


Jess Molloy
Contact by email
DAA Management
Office: 020 7255 6132

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