INTERVIEW: Josie Long returns to her roots in Kent for her eighth stand-up tour
12:55 10 January 2017
Here she talks to KoS about Brexit, and how her love for swimming helped when she took on Bear Grylls’ The Island
By now Josie Long thought she’d have children and be in love, and have a country that didn’t vote with the far right parties to march us all off a cliff.
But instead, she’s taken her political anguish and (not quite as she’d hoped) life and turned it into material for her eighth stand-up tour, which is coming to Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre and Margate’s Theatre Royal.
In an interview with KoS, Ms Long, who grew up in Orpington, doesn’t shy away from her political beliefs as she explains why her new tour reverts back to politics.
“I wanted to write a show about optimism and activisits, about sharing experiences from people I’ve met but Brexit shocked me and overshadowed my life, and so this show became personal,” she says.
“It’s now become about how I feel like I’m not in the majority, and how I’m getting my head around how so much has changed politically, so quickly. I want to show the audience that we need to remain hopeful, kind, and humane, and that it is possible for us to stay that way.”
The title of Ms Long’s stand-up, Something Better, is itself a double meaning.
“It encompasses the show’s meaning - wanting something better for you, for the world,” informs Ms Long.
“But then it’s also a humourous name. At comedy festivals, when you’re speaking to your friends about what everyone is going to see that day and they’re talking about seeing some boring, old comedian, you can just say ‘I’m going to see Something Better’”.
However, she also plans on being one of those ‘old’ comedians.
“I’ll always do stand-up, it’s kind of like my life companion, and it’s my main creative outlet. It helps me deal with my life. I love that you can be an old lady comedian and stay respected, it’s so cool,” she comments.
In her spare time, Ms Long likes to swim, but not just any kind of swimming - she enjoys swimming fresh, cold water, in rivers, and lakes.
“It’s a massive stress releaver for me. When you first get in the water, it’s so cold you think you’re going to die,” she laughs.
“But then it’s so different to just walking beside the river, you can really take in the natural world around you.
“It really helped my time on the Island with Bear Grylls, and it was so lovely to swim in a tropical sea. What helped more than anything, and what I truly learnt to appreciate during that time was the little role of fat around my middle. The fatter people on that show had it so much easier than the thin, or muscular people.”
Ms Long is also the co-founder of the Arts Emergency Service, which is dedicated to getting underprivileged teenagers places on university drama courses.
She says: “It’s incredible, it’s gone from eight students and one mentor, to 150 students and three paid staff. We want to take it international in the long run but it might take 15 years to get that far.”
Something Better is coming to the Marlowe Theatre on February 1 and the Theatre Royal on March 2.
For tickets visit marlowetheatre.com or theatreroyalmargate.com