As a former stand-up comedian myself, I'm always intrigued by other comics. When British comedian Josie Long's show Something Better was presented to me, I had to find out more, especially while living in this post-election apocalypse, I am constantly looking for Something Better to focus on.
Josie's show, Something Better, will be playing throughout London this February and March. Click here for tickets and locations!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? I was obsessed with TV comedy when I was a child, and I was also a natural show off, so when I found comedy I fell in love with it I think!
2. You have been performing comedy since the age of 14. How do you feel the comedy circuit has changed since then and how have you adapted to the change? When I started out on the comedy circuit in London, it was a lot smaller and I think a little weirder than now. In the past decade stand up comedy has had an incredible surge in popularity in the U.K. And now there are a lot more people pursuing it as a career in quite an intense and ruthless manner. When I started it felt like there were lots of very zany open spots, and lots of people performing comedy for reasons that even they couldn't explain! But then I don't know if that's the hardened veteran performer in me talking, there's still so many delightful weirdoes knocking about.
For me personally, stand up has been a part of my whole life, it's been how I express myself and how I understand the world, I simply can't imagine my life without it.
3. Your new show, Something Better is going on a London tour this February and March. It's a show about optimism, hope, looking for people and things to look up to, and wanting more from life than it might be up for giving out. What made now the right time to premiere this new show? I really love getting to perform. The crowds are energetic and excited in a way that makes me feel glad to be alive. My show is about trying to get back to hope and optimism after a catastrophic election hijacked by the far right, and it became accidentally more relevant after the Trump election.
4. In this post-election climate, how can your show help restore some faith that was lost on that fateful night? I think it's important to get to laugh with other people, even if it's laughing about feeling angry or frightened- it reminds you that you are not alone and that you aren't crazy. I also think that being hopeful is the only way to go, and it is absolutely my dream that my show could help make anyone feel empowered to keep going.
5. How do you stay optimistic when things don't go your way? It's just always better than the alternative. Nobody ever says "guess who I'm taking on the expedition? This bitter old husk of a person! They shall be ruinous for morale!" So you might as well keep trying. What else are you gonna do? That having been said, I think I'm lucky to be optimistic by nature, which means I'm stuck like this, even when it's stupid!
6. What more do you want out of life than it's giving you? As well as dealing with political loss, I think part of my show was dealing with being newly single at 34 when I want a family, about renting in London during a housing crisis and feeling like my life was lacking in any kind of permanence or security. That's kind of a downer, written down though. It's funnier onstage.
8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I am going to go on Twitter once a day and no more. I swear Twitter used to be fun at some point. I swear it did. But I can't remember that feeling anymore. Good luck with your fitness! I admire that very much!
Often described as a unique voice in comedy, Josie Long is one of the most respected comedians of her generation. Having started stand-up at age 14, she went on to win the BBC New Comedy Award and came in second in So You Think You’re Funny at age 17. Josie went on to support Stewart Lee on his national tour, winning Chortle UK’s Best Newcomer (2005) and Breakthrough Act (2007) awards. In 2006, her show Kindness and Exuberance won the Perrier Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe, and since then Josie has racked up three consecutive nominations for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award and performed in Montreal, Melbourne (where she won the 2007 Barry Award), Adelaide and New Zealand. In 2015 she performed her show Cara Josephine in New York and Los Angleles after sold-out shows in Edinburgh and London.
On television, Josie has appeared on the UK programs The News Quiz, Just A Minute, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Alternative Comedy Experience, Have I Got News For You and 8 out of 10 Cats, and Drunk History, as well as Australia’s Thank God You’re Here. She also investigated the rise of online comedy for The Culture Show on BBC2. She has written and starred in two short films, Let’s Go Swimming and Romance and Adventure and is currently developing her first feature-length project.
Josie has also written for BBC Radio, including two contributions to The Afternoon Play and her own series based on her show Romance and Adventure. She has been a regular guest on a The Back End Of Next Week, and was the co-host of BBC 6 Music Saturday mornings with Andrew Collins in 2011. Josie became popular with young radio listeners through a weekly feature on the Radio 1 series Switch, where she announced words that children had to immediately put into their homework. Josie currently presents Short Cuts for BBC Radio 4, which has reached #2 in the iTunes podcast download chart.
Josie is also a regular contributor to the Guardian Guide, as a columnist and cartoonist, and she wrote for, and appeared in, the first two series of Skins as well as directed their online content. She is currently developing her charity Arts Emergency, which works to make arts & humanities degrees accessible to all who want to study them.