Josie Long: The Future is Another Place

Josie Long: The Future is Another Place
Pleasance Dome

There is much more political comedy around since the ‘election’ of this Con/Dem coalition and it’s easy to see why. The hatchet job on pretty much everything that working people care about – cuts in schools, hospitals, libraries et al – demand a satirical response. The recent riots in England must also be addressed.

Josie Long, once described as the queen of whimsy, has gone proper political. And so the familiar comic themes of being let down by New Labour and of-course, hating the Tories receive another Fringe airing tonight. The difference here is that whilst other comics have merely observed, Long has gotten herself involved.

As a supporter of ‘UK Uncut’ she discussed the occupations of tax avoiding businesses during the half million strong demo in London in March. It’s now common knowledge that the police commanders lied to activists, but the protesters subsequent vindication in the courts has done nothing to dampen her anger over the event. And when Long is angry, she’s funny.

She’s also appeared on political panel shows on TV, and most poignantly, corresponded with a member of the Black Panthers on death row. Whilst Long conveyed despair to the captive American, he in turn, replied with optimism – urging her to continue to stand up for her beliefs.

Her skill is to make this ‘message comedy’ very funny, even for those in this capacity audience that disagree with her.  And as a performance, it totally works. There are one or two digressions away from politics – her take on the Bronte Sisters gave us the Josie Long of old, but overall she delivered some of the very best political comedy I have seen.

My only real quibble is that she kept apologizing for this new found anger, stating that the Con/Dem coalition has “made me a much worse comedian”. I whole-heartedly disagree.