Crafting onstage with Josie Long: a review by Margo

09 Jan Crafting onstage with Josie Long: a review by Margo

Josie Long is not your everyday comedic superstar. In her most recent show, Be Honourable! she celebrated porridge with religious fervour, did a stellar Nye Bevan impersonation, and told a hilarious and faintly disturbing story about a deranged paparazzo.

But she also did a rare and noble thing, and introduced passionate political commentary to her act. Inspired by the election results and consequent turmoil of broken promises, cuts, and protests, Josie decided to become more politically active, and documented her progress as an activist.

For her show’s London audience, a hint that her brand of political comedy is not your standard soapbox-heckling finger-pointing down-with-the-kids posturing was provided by the onstage Craftivist contingent. With the other Craftivists who were lucky enough to participate, we busily made protest quilt squares for our Bed-In project and tried not to fall off of our chairs with laughter. At the end of each night, she talked about how anyone could find a form of activism to participate in, and that was when she turned to the Craftivists and asked us about our work. A particular crowd-pleaser was a quilt square reading “The Tories Put the ‘N’ Into Cuts’”.

When Craftivist HQ sent up the bat-signal for participants I was really keen to be part of the event. I’ve been a fan of Josie’s comedy for a while, as she’s never unnecessarily cruel or snarky without being painfully self-righteous. It was great, then, to see the recent Guardian year-end review single out Be Honorable! as a highlight of the comedy calendar; not just because it was a hellaciously funny show but because Josie was one of the few comedians in 2010 to stand up with a distinctly political and socially-aware agenda. Refreshingly non-preachy, she is sincere about her desire for change and commitment to activism, but able to blend those qualities with wit, and some kickass drawing skills.

In a better world, Josie Long would be a benchmark for contemporary humour and not an exception. But her courage in tackling difficult subjects in a unique way meant that this audience member left her shows more energised and inspired. I’d bet a year’s worth of organic, fair-trade, locally-sourced porridge oats that I’m not the only one.

Margo is an active craftivist, a regular attendee of London meet-ups – and a reliably good teller of jokes . To view her fabulous Tumblr, click here.

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