Komedia Interview: Josie Long – Tender
Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and very hard to pin down indie-underdog-nightmare Josie Long is back with a new show for the first time in five years. It’s about the mind-bending intensity of new motherhood, but mostly about kindness, gentleness, and joy. Josie speaks to Craig Maplesden ahead of her Komedia show on Thursday 20th February.
Many thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat to me. You are coming to Komedia with your ’Tender’ tour. What is the show about and what can we expect?
It’s about this- how do you bring someone into the world when everyone around you is telling you it’s the end of the world? But you can expect a lot of silliness, and joy… it’s a lot less serious than that sounds!
You are brutally honest about the reality of childbirth and motherhood. Why do you think this has been such a taboo subject for comedians in the past?
I think in part because there’s been an odd kind of pervasive thing that “women comedians only talk about *women’s experiences*” as if we are only grotesque and gross, and that people wouldn’t want to hear them. I think what’s different now is that people are more up for just listening to a comedian that they like sharing their life story with them.
I think that finally women are better represented on TV and people are up for embracing the fact that gender isn’t a genre.
Was this tour one of the easiest for you to write, as you are living the experience every day?
Hahaha! Yes, in a way absolutely but in a way god no because I’ve never written under torture conditions of sleep deprivation before. My writing time is a lot fewer and further between now too, but it means I really take advantage of it, whereas before I became a parent I didn’t really appreciate the ocean of time I was swimming in!
Can you remember any of the advice you were given before becoming a new mum? If so, was any of it beneficial?
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is the main one that honestly is the most ridiculous. For about 6 months my baby would only sleep in motion or on a person. Also like, when do you eat?! Or wash?!
I understand you had an ongoing disagreement with a period/fertility app during your pregnancy. Is this tour also a bit of a self-help for couples thinking about/going through a pregnancy?
Oh absolutely. With this show I wanted to do two things- share the experiences of pregnancy and birth with people who either didn’t want to do it or couldn’t do it, and also to try and come out and be positive about things that otherwise you only hear horror stories about- to say that birth especially doesn’t have to be the nightmare people like to frighten you with.
Is it easier to come up with tour names than baby names?
Yes!! And also if you f*** up a show name you only really have to live with it for a year, whereas we have given my daughter a name which we now realise we are mispronouncing. Good luck with that at school darling!
I’m sure that our own parents feared about the world that their children were entering into. What dreams/fears do you have for your own child entering into this world?
A big part of the show is about climate change anxiety, and worrying that I can’t affect useful change. Which is a pretty big one. The show is definitely talking about that, and trying to come to a place of optimism and action by the end. I just got given a brilliant book called “from what is to what if” about trying to re-imagine the future in a more positive and practical way, I really recommend it.
Other than the tour, what else do you have planned for the rest of 2020?
I’m trying to develop film and TV stuff with my creative partner Douglas King. We make films together and we are trying to get funding to go legit! I’m also going to write a new stand up show as I love it so so much.
For tickets to see Josie Long: Tender at Komedia on Thursday 20th February, call the Komedia Box Office on 01225 489070 or visit the website: komedia.co.uk/Bath.