I thought Josie Long would be my kind of person but after watching her engaging, passionate and beyond-funny ‘Re-Enchantment’ show on Sunday evening at The (glorious) Stand in Newcastle, I am now a confirmed follower of the funniest comedian I have seen in a long time. Possibly ever. Josie is the multi-award-winning comedian and writer who also makes films and podcasts, but is relatable to most of us (although possibly not the “pearl clutchers”?) and shares her thoughts in a uniquely loud and ranty way that at the same time is full of love and joy.
Josie was engaging from the start. Her energy permeated through the room and immediately included the audience by promising not to tell anyone they do a “c**** job”! She seemed genuinely delighted to be on stage and the whole audience were lapping it up. Throughout the evening Josie told the audience that she’s a Socialist who should have been a Communist but “couldn’t be bothered with the reading”, a “prison abolitionist who believes in the death penalty for the Crazy Frog” and can get round compassionate meditation by following The Way “in a sarcastic voice”. All this seemed to resonate with the audience. I could tell by the levels of laughter and the nods of agreement we were all sharing with our respective parties. Josie brought The Stand together and also floated the idea of bringing Newcastle together with her recently adopted Scotland, which went down a storm!
Josie has got a very real grasp on life and a talent for picking out the little laughter jewels from a world that is looking bleaker than bleak right now. Her comedy isn’t fluffy-bunny-optimistic at all but is: if pessimism had a shower, a hair cut and put on their dancing gear. She tells the truth but uncovers the promise of something better….even if it will be in 2055. Josie proclaimed that she “feels like life is starting at 40” and her show ‘Re-Enchantment’ is inspired by Lola Olufemi: “After defeat, re-enchantment is necessary”. This is a show about embracing a new kind of life in Glasgow and how Josie now feels “re-enchanted” after such a weird period of time. She feels like she belongs, even amongst all the unrest we’re facing now as a world. Her show is about loving her children (one of whom has recently been born…in 2021), being part of a community and making compassionate and human choices in the face of “pearl clutchers” and their driveways, dealing with the fact that “horses are scabs” and the dilemma of voting for Nicola Sturgeon.
I felt like Josie Long’s show was a call to arms, for me anyway. We’re the same age, have experienced the same world and even both remember Fred Durst! Josie managed to deliver the importance of looking out for each other, standing for what you believe in and embracing what you love. I’m just a little bit miffed that Josie has the opportunity to say “10 happy birthdays for the bum hole” on stage. I would have loved to do that!
You can catch Josie Long’s stunning ‘Re-Enchantment’ over the next few months. She’s heading to Hebden Bridge, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, York, Manchester, Berwick-on-Tweed, Salford, Wigan, Halifax, Sheffield and Sunderland. I urge you to do so: “ No mess, no fuss, have your party on our (Josie’s) bus!”