Stand-up comedy has clearly played a big part in Long’s life. Her first experiences of live comic performance were in high school, which put in place a firm foundation for her career as a professional stand-up, upon the completion of the English degree she read for at Lady Margaret Hall. By now her methods for creating new material appear to be well honed. As well as obvious on-stage spontaneity, there is an initial “write up”, basically consisting of Long “vamping her life” by “always keeping eyes open for things that were beautiful”. She explained that her material always has to consist of “what I feel is important and what I’ve been most passionate about”. This makes politics an obvious choice for her, since “in politics every minute something happens with which I disagree”. Her most recent comic strip for the Guardian, which ponders that eternal question: “what if it really was Christmas every day?” demonstrates that a “bit of politics” can make any topic just a little edgier and funnier.
Her career as a comedian has clearly been quite a journey. She said that “of course I used to be nervous” but that is all in the past. She explained that “I got to the point where I had a revelation; you just can’t be nervous every day”. Starting something new is always daunting. To get past this in her comic writing, deadlines seem to have helped. She told me that she’d “been bashing out a quite interesting revelation”. There was “real anxiety” on her part, but “recently I’ve had too many deadlines and so had to get things done; the quality stays the same whether you spend ages on it or just get it done”. She can now say that, in every aspect of her comedic career “I’m excited and confident in my own voice”. This is a message she gives to anyone who wants to start up in stand-up; be confident in yourself and “don’t let anything deter you. When it comes round to it, nothing is better than having your own style”.
She has obviously found having a world tour to be a brilliant experience; going all the way from cold Edinburgh to Adelaide, “mid heat-wave”. Long said that “getting to travel is really great” and “it’s been really cool to have such a great and diverse audience”. When asked which of her performances she has so far enjoyed the most, she remained diplomatic, saying that “it’s hard to guage; you have to replace it – every time there’s been a wonderful atmosphere; that last show “always feels like the best one”. She concludes “it’s a very good life I’ve got”, and I can’t say I disagree.
Josie Long’s Romance & Adventure tour visits The Cellar on Monday November 26th and Tuesday 27th.
PHOTOS/ Idil Sukan