Josie Long: Be Honourable!

4 stars

****

I like that the title of Long’s show includes an exclamation mark.  It gives emphasis to a show which seems to have that extra bit of passion and fire.  It makes it sound like a command, a call to arms, although one which Long delivers in her usual lo-fi, enthusiastically whimsical way.

Long didn’t make it up to Edinburgh last year, and my Fringe viewing was worse off for it.  However, this year she’s back with her tales of how she tried to be a better person.  At first this consisted of going on a diet and looking at pictures of food over the internet.  This leads Long into a wonderful segment in which she introduces us to Walter Ezell, a man who photographed his breakfast every day for a year.  By analysing the photos, Long builds up her own picture of Walter’s life and personality and there are various moments where she has the crowd ‘awwing’ as she delightfully dissects the subject matter in front of her.  I think this is my favourite feature of Long’s standup routines.  Her shows are always funny, but more importantly they are shot through with real heart and feeling which you can’t help but warm to.

So why have we been introduced to this man who took photos of his food for 365 days?  Well, Long explains, it’s because she’s looking for a hero; someone to look up to and admire.  She needs an adult who shares her beliefs, having been let down by those who she felt might.  Finding herself in a country governed by those she is fundamentally opposed to, Long is angry at herself for being complacent about politics and simply thinking it was enough to be ‘nice’.  She realises that she now needs to be something more, to have more of a social conscience.   This is where Long seems to make a slight departure from her usual style.  There seems to be a genuine sense of anger and disappointment bubbling under the surface which often bursts through to contrast with her good-natured optimism.

I always come away from an hour in Josie Long’s company feeling uplifted and generally happy with how humanity is turning out.  There is still genuinely a sense of that but underpinning it is a slightly more serious message, that perhaps we ought to start to be that bit more honourable.

Reviewed by Di

Venue: Just the Tonic @ the Caves

19.40

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