Josie Long: ‘I’d love to see someone defend free speech for


Josie Extended, 40, had what you might call an eventful lockdown. She gave start to her 2nd daughter, she and her associate, fellow comic Jonny Donahoe, relocated 400 miles from their residence in east London to Glasgow and, as if that was not more than enough, she was identified with ADHD.

Lengthy grew up in Kent and begun accomplishing standup aged just 14. She gained the BBC New Comedy award at 17 in advance of heading off to Oxford University to research English. Soon after graduating, she returned to the standup circuit and was named finest newcomer at the Edinburgh competition fringe in 2006. She’s since develop into the very first lady to be nominated for the Edinburgh comedy award 3 periods, and is a podcaster, playwright, microbudget movie-maker, co-founder of the schooling charity Arts Crisis and a standard on Radio 4.

Future month, Extended returns to the Edinburgh fringe for the initial time in three yrs with her new standup show, Re-enchantment. When we speak, she’s getting a split from placing the finishing touches to crafting the demonstrate – a job she’s juggling with childcare and her other various assignments. She’d be properly within her legal rights to be tetchy and frazzled, but is warm, pleasant, impishly funny – and effervescent with enthusiasm.

What have you produced of the earlier couple weeks in politics?
You have to just take your pleasures in which you can. We all know the Conservative occasion is a numerous-headed hydra, and that if you get rid of 1 head, a new just one pops up which is likely worse than the last. But it’s however pleasant to assume about Boris Johnson not finding what he desired for the initially time in his existence.

What is your dream state of affairs for British isles politics more than the next couple several years?
I’d adore to see Scottish independence. I totally recognize that I have only just arrived in Scotland and never have the correct to have a strong opinion, but for me, the Labour celebration has deserted any trace of a progressive, radical agenda and the Tory get together is an untrainable monster. So I’m pinning hopes on the utopian desire of independence.

What prompted the move to Glasgow? Did your enjoy of Scottish indie-pop draw you there?
Partly! I have been wanting to shift for about 10 yrs. I appreciate the history of Glasgow, the architecture, the persons. I come to feel pretty passionate about Clydeside… it is acquired that dwelling memory, a connection to this incredible social historical past. I do idealise the put, but part of my new show is about how you make your personal actuality in your brain. I couldn’t make the actuality of living in England perform in my mind any extra.

What are the themes of your new Edinburgh demonstrate?
There are 3 most important themes. The initial is what it suggests to obtain your household, and my emotion of alienation from Kent, in which I grew up, and the political tradition of the past 10 a long time. The 2nd is my motivation to reconnect with nature and magnificence. The 3rd part is about the horrific matters the authorities are doing, and begging people today to not be essential of men and women who are radical sufficient to fight them. There are also superior bits about faculty debating, parenting, ADHD and the infestations in our flat. A thing for everybody!

What are you infested with?
We have got the great deal. Mice, moths, beetles, pigeons in the roof. But it’s however a paradise to me.

Josie Long performing in 2019.
Josie Prolonged doing in 2019. Photograph: The Cosmic Shambles and Natalie Shaw

What will it be like executing at Edinburgh festival as a Scottish resident for the initial time?
Fascinating, since I’m heading to commute by train and my exhibit is in the afternoon, to suit all around childcare. My seven-thirty day period-aged will not take a bottle, which is surprising. She’s an anti-feminist who doesn’t want her mother to function.

What do you make of the recent backlash towards the fringe, accusing organisers of mismanagement?
Perfectly, I agree that not bothering to do the [ticketing] app this calendar year is truly unhelpful. But I am emphatically not spurning the fringe. Some newer acts are producing comedy written content for on the net in its place, but that was ruined for me since I was an early focus on for on line abuse. In the mid-00s, sure community forums have been kind of unhinged in their hatred of me, which was quite formative. I’ll in no way feel as secure or as free of charge on the net as other individuals could possibly. I prefer earning content for an audience I can see.

You ended up identified with ADHD in lockdown. How did that modify your watch of yourself?
Essentially, what I learned was that standup served me to function. Comedy and rigorous exercising had been how I’d managed to cope [with ADHD]. Standup gave me clarity of aim and deadlines and built my mind come to feel good. When instantly that was long gone, I was dwelling in fog. That led into anxiousness, panic and sleeplessness. With my constructions taken away by the pandemic, I just felt like every thing was difficult. And then I observed a mate of mine who’s a successful cartoonist, publishing about ADHD on social media, and I was: “Oh fuck, this is precisely what my lifetime is like.” It is quite embarrassing, learning about it by way of Instagram memes.

Having the diagnosis has been wonderful, but also disheartening, for the reason that I have not been able to take medication thanks to currently being pregnant and now breastfeeding.

How has ADHD impacted on your comedy vocation?
It absolutely allows in writing jokes, since it is all about becoming observant and your mind creating unusual, rapid connections. But at the similar time, I feel so sad, mainly because if I’d experienced treatment or even an comprehension of what it was, existence could possibly have been easier. I might have blown very hot and cold, or appeared rude or lazy without realising. I would like I’d recognized when I was 8, but that’s the way lifetime has panned out.

How is Arts Crisis heading? Are we in more of an emergency than ever?
It is brutal. The very truth that they’re stating “If your college program isn’t right away rewarding, it is of no value” is so inane and ignorant. The positive aspects of training for culture are diffuse, not just measured in a extremely brief fiscal transaction for one particular person.

It’s despicably anti-intellectual to be closing humanities classes. The infuriating factor is that this has been coming since 2010. One of the 1st items the Tories did when they came into energy was clear away the block grant for the arts and humanities. We’ve been desperately attempting to persuade individuals to not vote Conservative. If they’d turned towards the govt even just three many years ago, perhaps matters would be unique. But I’m making an attempt not to be bitter I’m saying: “Welcome, comrades, welcome.”

You went to Lady Margaret Corridor at Oxford – as did Nigella Lawson and Michael Gove
Oh no, I did not know Gove went there. They held that peaceful. But Nigella is pretty great, thinking about. Really, one particular of the most popular alumni from my university is Samuel West, who is not only a outstanding actor but a quite superior birdwatcher and an absolute diamond comrade. So I see your Michael Gove and raise you a Samuel West!

Your debut assortment of small tales is published soon. What can you notify us?
They’re all composed in the first human being, quite rigorous but extensive ranging. Some are about how rigged the place is, some are about romance, some are about climate alter. And some are about finding a bleak form of revenge on poor ex-boyfriends of mine [laughs].

Who are your composing influences?
Raymond Carver is continue to, to my mind, the most effective limited story author of all. Dan Rhodes is super under-appreciated. I adore George Saunders, Leonora Carrington and Jean Rhys. Much more lately, I have read two incredible tale collections: Get in Trouble by Kelly Connection and Ingesting Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer.

Ever fancied creating a sitcom?
I have written pilots in the previous. Regrettably, when I was making an attempt to pitch them, I was instructed: “Sorry, the channel’s now acquired a feminine-led sitcom.” It was an period when people considered girls never offer DVDs or sell out venues. But I’d however adore to make 1, and I have a really excellent notion.

Would you protect totally free speech for the likes of Jimmy Carr, Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais?
I’d love to see anyone defend free speech for leftwing activists, relatively than these loaded gentlemen who don’t read, who never treatment about the effect their phrases could have on folks, and cling to definitely flimsy excuses about irony or the nobility of their jokes. What you actually cannot do is say genuinely anti-establishment items, for the reason that if you do it with a platform, even if it is gentle, the Daily Mail will arrive for you so fucking hard, you will have a breakdown. And if you do it with out a system and you are considered an activist, they’ve put powers in area which suggest you can be pre-emptively arrested.

When did you 1st realise you could make folks snicker?
I was about 8, about 5ft 5in tall and quite overweight. I was incredibly mindful of remaining significant and uncomfortable, but realised I could deflect it with laughter. I also remember the 1st time I designed right buddies and how we’d make up foolish shit with each other. That’s what I’m however performing now – attempting to share something and chuckle jointly.

Re-enchantment is at Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh, 4-28 August,

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