We chat to Josie Long about Doctor Who, Stewart Lee and her new tour
We chat about Doctor Who, comedy heroes and her love of stand-up with Josie Long ahead of her new tour, coming to Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange on the 19th February.
Tell us about the new show?
Well when I found myself heartbroken in the Summer of 2013 I wanted to write about it and create a show as a way of thinking about love and heartbreak and why I kept having hard times in relationships. It’s also about what I did to get over it like doing loads of sport, trying to read more and me and my sister hanging out so it’s also about my relationship with my sister and my family. The other reason I wrote it is because i’ve done lots of political shows and, even though I still care a lot about politics, I felt like I didn’t have anything new to say about it. I felt like i’d said everything I wanted to so I thought ‘sod it’, I’ve got all of these emotional things that have happened and I’m going to go through that and write about that and then come back to politics when i’ve got more to talk about!
Very early on in your career you supported Stewart Lee! How did that come about?
It was a really lucky chain of events. We were doing a gig together that Miranda Hart, before she was famous at all, used to run which was all women and then there’d be a token man at the end. It was when Stewart first started doing standup again, I happened to be on the bill and he was so nice about my stuff so we started being acquaintances and gigging together a bit and then he did a couple of gigs with me I think just to see if I was too annoying or not! Luckily I wasn’t too annoying so we did this show, ten years ago pretty much to the day. I was so lucky because it was my first chance to be like an apprentice to someone, he was so generous with his time and he really looked after me and it was such a great experience to have because it taught me a lot.
I read that you wrote some of Skins, how did that come about?
That’s another lucky story. One of the co-creators saw me at a gig and the next day he said, ‘We’ve got a show that we’ve had commissioned that’s being written now and that’s going to be aired do you want to join in and be part of the writers team?’ This never happens! Normally if people see you first they want to have a meeting or pitch some ideas or they ask if they can attach your name to a project but then you never hear about it again. At the time I didn’t realise what a rare opportunity that was. Now i’m just like ‘Thank God that that happened!’
You do a lot of radio shows, do you prefer a live audience or do you get something different from being on the radio?
Well i’ve actually been doing stand-up since I was about 14 so i’ve been doing it so much longer than not doing it now so it’s always been a part of my life. It’s kind of how I deal with the world and how I understand it so my life is really hand in hand with stand-up amd I can’t ever imagine not doing it. I just love it so much and I get such a buzz from it. I also do really enjoy making radio shows like the one i’m making at the moment with my Producer Ellie, it’s such a fantastic experience, but I think nothing beats being on stage and getting that feedback straight away when you’re really making people laugh. It feels like sorcery you know, like witchcraft!
You’ve worked with a lot of comedians in the past, do you have a favourite?
I run a club up in London called The Lost Treasures of the Black Heart and i’ve got a friend called Nat Metcalfe who comes and does the club every month and he’s just such a brilliant comedian. I hope he gets all of the success he deserves because his material is so interesting, he writes about 1970’s and 80’s popular culture but not in an anyway cliched way and he’s just fascinating! He’s somebody that I love working with because he’s such a nice guy and so talented. We actually podcast the show if anyone wants to hear his stuff, he’s always on the podcast.
Going on from that who’s your comedy hero? Or someone you really love to watch?
Stewart Lee actually! I was really lucky to get to tour with him because I watched him every night on that tour and I loved it! I really do love comedy and I love seeing new comedy all the time. Right now i’d have to say my favourites are Claudia O’Doherty, Sarah Pascoe and James Acaster and then I suppose my peers would be Pappy’s and Issy Suttie.
We heard that you love Doctor Who, would you like to be a sidekick one day?
Oh my God yes I would! I wish that was a genuine offer! It would change my life! I think everyone secretly wants to be Doctor Who though…If they make a woman Doctor Who, and I really hope they do, I can imagine the amount of people who’d go ‘Oh no it could never be a woman urgh!’ That would be so annoying!
If you wrote a Dr Who episode what would it be about?
I think i’d do a period piece set in Victorian London or the Tudor times but with aliens and then you can make very good clever jokes about what’s happened in history, I love all that stuff! Or maybe a a film noir one…it’s hard to think of one that hasn’t been done already!
Who is your favourite Doctor?
I don’t know who my favourite is because it changes every time. They are all so incredibly diverse but I did really like Sylvester McCoy, he’s not my favourite but I really like him and people find that quite controversial!
I’m hopefully making a feature film in the Summer which is a continuation of some short films that I made, it’s going to be in Glasgow and hopefully that’ll all go well!