Thursday, April 7, 2016

Josie Long: the Funhouse interview

In the past few months, there have been some Funhouse “projects” I've wanted to get back to. Following the passing of my dad (see below), I also realized that several topics went unheralded here on the blog. One of those was an interview I conducted with British comedian Josie Long while she was performing her show Cara Josephine in NYC late last year.

I plan to air the interview on the Funhouse TV show with applicable clips from Josie's standup and TV appearances. I had, however, posted two really interesting clips on YouTube shortly after our chat, as a preview of the conversation.

Both questions I chose to post have to do with the U.K. comedy scene. The first found me asking her to recommend names of other U.K. comics we may not have heard of over here but certainly have “access” to via YT. She was more than happy to supply a list of her favorites (keep in mind we'd already mentioned Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Robin Ince, and Simon Munnery, so their names aren't in this list).

The second question was one I know that Josie is not fond of, namely the position of women in the world of standup. I thought it was worth discussing the question itself, though, in light of the fact that in the U.S. the easiest route to mainstream acceptance for female standups is if they are cute and discuss sex in great detail (Sarah Silverman, Whitney Cummings, Amy Schumer, and now Nikki Glaser).

In the U.K., however, Josie and her fellow women standups (Bridget Christie, Isy Suttie, Maeve Higgins) do material about more interesting, esoteric, and socially committed topics. I know there are many American women standups who do not go the “did you ever hear of a Dirty Sanchez?” sex-talk route (I brought up Maria Bamford, who is much worthier of attention than the dirty-talk crowd), but I think it is interesting that the ones who emphasize that sort of material wind up getting the biggest showcases on premium cable (presumably because men will watch *that* kind of women comedian).

Josie's statements on this topic are wonderfully eloquent, and take into consideration not only the standup audience's demands, but those of the premium-cable “taste makers.”

More British humor to come...

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