Josie Long has spent twenty years being a beacon of hope amongst the cynical cruelty of stand-up comedy. Providing light relief for anyone tired of droll sarcasm, she has never failed to look on the bright side. Audience members would be forgiven for thinking that may change this year as the world has gotten bleaker than ever and Josie Long has spend the last 13 months undertaking the exhausting task of raising a baby. It is a relief then to learn that Josie Long has lost none of her spark. If anything, the emotional toll of her situation has only allowed her to shine more brightly.
We need people like Josie Long now more than ever.
Tender is a show about having a baby in troubled times. Oscillating between anecdotal chat about childbirth and abstract terror at our failing world, Josie brings out the humour in both by countering them against one another. Engaging effortlessly with her audience and providing just the right amount of warmth without inviting needless audience participation, she allows the audience to relax into her comfortable world while simultaneously never allowing them to be distracted from the truths of the world around it.
It is here in which the show has its power. While it would be a Herculean enough task to distract audiences from the negativity of modern society, Josie goes further than that and attempts to find joy and a reason to keep going within it. The exact conclusion she comes to would be considered a spoiler, but suffice to say it is in keeping with the Josie Long that has brought her audience members joy, optimism and positivity for the last two decades. We can only hope for at least two more. After all, we need people like her now more than ever.