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Muddy meets Josie Long

The most positive comedian in the biz on Celebrity Masterchef, being a new mum, and her new tour, Tender, coming to North Devon in February.

Josie started her stand-up career at the tender age of 14 and was winning comedy awards by 17!  Since then she’s appeared on shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Now an Edinburgh Festival veteran and a regular on the UK and international comedy circuit, having had sell-out shows in the West End, LA and New York, Josie’s latest ‘project’ – a baby – has given her plenty of material for her new tour, Tender. We found out more.

Your career started when you were barely a teenager at just 14! When did you first realise you were funny?

I started making jokes when I was about 8 or 9. I was very tall, very big and very awkward and I realised I could make people laugh – not about me, but just by making jokes and being silly. I really enjoyed it, and got the bug. I always loved performing live and I drank in TV comedy as a kid. Then for my 14th birthday my mum got me a place on an adult’s workshop at an arts centre. We performed our material to each other and the adults really looked after me. They’d ring up to book themselves open slots and say ‘we’ve got a child here – can she have one too?’

Tender is your first full Edinburgh show in five years – what have you been up to?

Well, I’ve made a feature film, with my director friend. It’s called Super November and we did it for a tiny three thousand pound budget. We took it on a tour of cinemas and it was nominated for a British independent film award. I also make a show for BBC Radio 4 called Short Cuts.

…and you’ve become a mum for the first time – how has that been?

Motherhood is amazing. It’s massive. I wish that my daughter slept, but I love it. It’s really really joyful. People want to tell you how hard it is but not how fun and silly and good it is. It’s a massive shift and it still blows my mind, but I just love having this very funny, very playful person in my life now. I took about a year out of work then wrote Tender when my daughter was 13 months old.

Tell us a bit about the show…

It’s a portrait of that time in my life. It’s about how to bring someone into the world when everyone is telling you it’s the end of the world. It’s about all the vulnerability and chaos and intensity of raising a new person and pregnancy and birth, but also how to find a bit of joy and positivity in the wider world, when things like climate change and political instability are so frightening.

You’re a self-confessed optimist – how do you manage to stay positive?

I think it’s just in my temperament, but it isn’t for everyone. In the show I talk about why I think it’s worth being optimistic even if you feel hopeless, because the only way to make things better is to act. What keeps me optimistic is that we are never alone in wanting change – so when you are feeling low or exhausted you can always look around you and see that there are other people fighting the fight and be inspired by them. As long as you do something you’ll be alright!

On a lighter note, you were on Celebrity MasterChef last year – how was that?

It was so much fun and so exciting. I did not expect being in a professional kitchen to be as thrilling as it was. I loved it but now I’m so full of regret – everytime I cook something good I think ‘oh my god, why didn’t you cook that on MasterChef, you idiot?!’ but I’m definitely a better cook now for having done it.

Finally, do you have any nuggets of wisdom for new mums?

Don’t let anyone come to your house for more than an hour and make sure they bring food. If they don’t, turn them away at the door!

See Josie’s new show, Tender at the Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington on Friday 21 February 2020 or see her full tour here

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