This is a review of the final performance of Josie Long’s standup set, Romance and Adventure, which you can watch here.
I realize that all of my favorite comics are not my favorite because they are the funniest–though Josie Long is immensely funny–but because they inspire people to live better lives. Sure, a lot of Romance and Adventure is political and beyond my feeble understanding of British government, but a lot of it is general encouragement to be better people. At the end of the show, she directs her audience to “Go back to where you live and think about your community.” She rattles off a list of Things to Do to Feel Adequate by Age 30, which includes doing something for charity. How have you gotten to age 30 and never thought about people less fortunate than yourselves? she wonders.
But of course, there’s also jokes about killing the Spice Girls, if you’re into that.
What makes Long so captivating is brutal honesty with herself. On one hand, she’s quite indie (I mean, you guys, she has a hand-drawn magazine called Drawing Mustaches in Magazines Monthly, seriously), but on the other hand, she loves fitness and physical endurance activities like climbing a mountain (she recently climbed Mount Kenya for charity). She also catches herself having similar opinions with the Prime Minister, who represents the opposite political viewpoint to her own. She’s frequently invited to do posh things like do a ski lodge gig, which is not in alignment with who she believes she is. The fact that she is not only aware of this but also conflicted about it is a beautiful thing.
If you’re wondering where the romance part of this show comes in, she compares her long distance relationship to having a Tamagotchi.
If you’re unfamiliar with Josie Long, her standup style is…difficult to describe. It’s a push-and-pull balance between adorable and scary. She might say something shouty in a low, scary voice, but then she laughs and squeals about how wonderful something is, and you’re immediately taken in by her charm, whether or not she just pointed a gun at you. In this show, she frequently dips into a voice that sounds a bit American gangster, which seems to be the fallback voice for most of her characters this time around.
Some favorite jokes from the show
- “Hey, let’s set up a 1980s tribute government!” –the current government
- “I only have one look, and my look is called Norwegian Boy. I like the fact that I’m wearing a dress and you still laughed.”
- On the Isle of Man, it was illegal to be gay until 1996. “Your name is Isle of Man! Which is why the people on the Isle of Wight are horrendously racist.”
Josie Long is partly concerned about the way in which she’s becoming an adult. She’s picked a job that deliberately keeps her a child. But this is also a survival technique. Stay silly.
At the end of the show, she says that if you didn’t enjoy it, she hopes you don’t write a blog about it. Luckily, I enjoyed it very much.