A lot has changed in Josie Long’s life since her last Comedy Festival run three years ago. The English comedian – a veteran of the stage at 30 – broke up with her long-term boyfriend, a man she thought she would marry and start a family with. David Cameron’s Conservative Party took political power, and the British economy plunged into a double-dip recession.
It’s not exactly grounds for uplifting stand-up, and the effervescent comic admits early on that her latest hour-long show could have been titled along the lines of “one woman wallowing in self-despair.”
Good thing, then, that despite her recent absence from Australian shores Long is still one of the most charming and downright likable comedians on the scene. In her previous festival shows she handed out hand-drawn ‘zines for punters to keep as souvenirs, this time there’s a bucket of flowers on the stage which Long cheerfully claims constitutes her “most high-tech stage setup ever.”
Romance and Adventure has social justice at its heart, as Long speaks eloquently and passionately about her desire for equality, a recent tour she did performing to disenfranchised youth and her loathing of the Tories. The former Best Newcomer winner at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards (alongside the likes of Arj Barker, The Mighty Boosh and Tim Minchin), Long also turned 30 last year, which made her question her place in life. Reading from her Moleskine notebook, the comedian recites a list of things she was supposed to have done before reaching the milestone (according to a tabloid UK website), becoming more and more indigent with suggestions like ‘climb the property ladder’ and ‘buy a Lamborghini’ (“but I can’t even drive! Why doesn’t it say ‘learn to drive’?”)
It’s all delivered in Long’s laid back yet ever-cheerful style, and topped off with a sincere closing speech about the perils of complacency and encouraging people to stand up for their beliefs. In the hands of another comic, the material could feel overly earnest but Long makes it nothing short of an inspiring call to arms.