Josie Long caught the stand-up bug at the tender age of 14, and has been performing ever since. This British comedian graduated from Oxford with a degree in English, and went on to support famous comedians and be put forward for several awards of her own; Josie has been nominated three times for the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show. This Saturday (Nov. 7), she will be performing in Fukuoka, headlining Comedy Fukuoka’s next gig. We asked Josie a couple of questions before she embarked on her first Asian tour.
Josie, this is your first time coming to Japan! What are you most looking forward to doing here?
Hi! I’m just so excited just to be visiting Japan, to be honest. I think just being in new cities and getting to take in the scenery and eat Japanese food will be more than enough for me!
Why did you decide to perform in Fukuoka? What have you heard about the city/Kyushu?
I used to have a pen pal there when I was a kid. She sent me so much excellent stationery over the years, and I always wanted to know what the city she lived in was like.
What are you the most concerned about?
In general? Climate change and armed conflict. Specifically, I just hope that the crowds like my silly show, and that people come!
What stereotypes of Japan are you hoping are not true? Any that you hope are true?
I am hoping that the stereotype of intense politeness is true, as I very much enjoy apologising – I can already say “sumimasen, wakarimasen“. I don’t really have any negative stereotypes of Japan, I have a very rose-tinted view of it!
You’ve performed all around the world. What do expect the audience to be like here in Japan?
I hope the audience is not too demure or polite! I think that I secretly wish I’ll get mobbed by screaming young fans in Japan, like the Britpop bands of the 90s.
We want to be a great audience for you. What can we do to give you the best show possible in Fukuoka?
Ah what a kind question – you’d never get that kind of question in London! Just come along, and it’ll be a fun show!
You’re known for eschewing the club circuit, and focusing on your one woman shows. How do you think this affects your style on stage?
I think it means that my shows have a bit more space to develop a narrative style and can be more than just jokes. I love that stand up comedy is such a fluid genre, that it ranges from performance-art style clowning to straight one-liners and everything in between. I would hope that my shows are still funny and fun though! I feel very lucky that I get to tour, because my crowds are always very cool.
Reviewers say that the show you’re performing is your most personal yet. Do comics need to be truthful on stage?
I honestly don’t think comics need to be anything onstage – just real about what they’d most like to be doing. So I suppose I would say that comics should be truthful about the things they really want to say and do, but there’s definitely room for all kinds of comedy. That having been said, I really do love watching comedians who share personal things.
Comedy Fukuoka’s open mic night is known for being a friendly place to try out stand-up comedy for the first time. Do you have any advice for newbies thinking of giving it a go?
Yes! Go for it! Nobody will hurt you and if you enjoy it you’ll want to perform comedy for the rest of your life. Also, focus on what really amuses you and your own sense of humour and then on how you might convey that to other people. Don’t try and anticipate what other people might like.
What do you wish someone had told you before you decided to become a full-time comedian?
Not to waste even a second of my time considering whether or not women are funny, or are/should be comedians. To report online harassment to the police. That it involves a lot of admin, such as organising your calendar and doing your taxes. Nobody says, “Yes, you will be doing your favourite thing, but you’ll also be doing all the admin of a temp job! Surprise!” But that all sounds like moaning when in fact I love doing this, admin and all!
Have you ever tried a Japanese washlet toilet? If not, do you want to?
OH MY WORD! I AM SIMPLY NOT SURE ABOUT THIS GUYS.
Josie Long will be performing at CC Cafe on Nov. 7 (Sat.). The show promises to be very popular and there are a limited number of tickets, so we recommend buying your tickets in advance. For more info on the show and how to book, click here.