I admit to having felt a tad disappointed when I heard that Josie Long wasn’t doing her political stuff this year. The former queen of whimsy (I love whimsy), turned left wing satirist (I love lefty satire) arrived in Edinburgh with a show about family and relationships (oh hum).
She’s the consummate comedian. A wonderful talent. And if she doesn’t win some sort of award for this show, I quit.
At length she tells us of her latest breakup with a boyfriend. Long looks on at her family and friends, who are all married with kids, and tries to figure out why she is different. She wonders if being bad in relationships can be passed down from parent to child, though she admits that she inherited some of her mother’s better qualities too.
While Long’s style keeps changing her approach to comedy does not. She’s still committed to every word she says. Her enthusiasm for her chosen subject - be it surreal, political or personal - is ever-present and infectious. Every line and every thought behind it feels very real. Long is a storyteller and, importantly, a story writer – and it shows.
So despite my misgivings, I was drawn into the story of her unfortunate love life. She has the persona of someone who can’t wait to tell you a secret, who conspires to tell you a truth. And she’s forever optimistic – even when she tells a story with a less than happy ending, you feel that for the protagonist something worthwhile will come out of the experience.
Politics and whimsy do creep in occasionally. She recommends a book on the privatisation of public land (Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City by Anna Mintonof) and there’s a terrific story concerning the death of UKIP’s Nigel Farage, but these are just asides. It turns out that Long can deliver the goods on pretty much any subject and in whatever style she chooses. She’s the consummate comedian. A wonderful talent. And if she doesn’t win some sort of award for this show, I quit.