I have a comedy bucket list about as long as an NBA player’s arm, and this Fringe I got to tick Josie Long off that list. The three-time award-nominated alternative comedy legend had somehow eluded me thus far. Needless to say, I sat at the back of the Stand very excitedly. Pleasantly, Long herself seemed to be just as excited to be there.
After a two-year absence, due to the having of a baby last year, Long has a lot of things to say, mostly about childbirth, and the raising of a young child. Although this is tried, tested, and often tired material, the thing that makes it work this time round is Long’s cheer and sheer positivity. She makes childbirth seem like a perfectly pleasant experience, as well as hilarious, and her massive smile rarely leaves her face.
The material is incredibly strong. Attacks on Michael Gove, or back-and-forths with a stuffed seal are often absurd, but always laugh-inducing, and always performed with joy. This makes the more serious moments, often about the environment and absolute hero Greta Thunberg, all the more impactful. Comedy shows with a message are ten a penny these days, but this one feels so real and so personal, as opposed to the tacked-on box ticking that it often does in other shows. Also, and this is important to note, it is still incredibly funny even as she drops some home truths about our near future.
There is not much more to be said about this wonderful return from Long. It is a joy throughout, and rarely is the audience not as happy and enamoured with Long, as Long clearly is with her daughter. This certainly did not disappoint, and I crossed her name of my lifetime comedy ‘to see’ list.