Holloway Arts Festival: Josie Long missed being funny
The small gathering at the Horatio Pub on the notorious Holloway Road last night was hosted by Edinburgh Festival veteran, official Olympic ‘Shake the Dust’ Poet Paul Lyalls, and saw perfomances from magician/overgrown children’s-party-act comic Otiz Cannelloni and Edinburgh Festival Comedy Award nominee Josie Long. Unfortunately, Holloway Arts Festival Comedy Club just missed being all that, well, funny.
Cannelloni’s magician-style antics jumbled with a few lukewarm one-liners ultimately failed to impress, leaving me feeling that I was at my eight-year-old niece’s birthday party laughing at obvious pantomime-esque gags.
Josie Long was slightly more exciting. Unarguably charismatic and comfortable on stage, Long was immediately able to establish a rapport with the audience, making quips about the unusual mixture of sex shops and milkshake bars scattered along Holloway Road. Unfortunately, whilst she oozed stage presence and likability in a kind of awkward misfit way, her performance actually lacked a lot of basic humour.
Call me old-fashioned, but I see a big part of a comedian’s job to be making jokes. And Long didn’t really make many, as her stand-up became more of a political tirade over her anger towards the current government and her hate for Tesco because they ‘own everything’, with a bash at mimicking the socialist Ed Miliband. It was all a bit stale and repetitive; her blatant passion and fervent socialist campaigning took away from the humour of it and made her seem, frankly, rather bitter. With her upcoming Edinburgh Festival Show entitled Romance and Adventure I was expecting more, well… romance and adventure. Regrettably, I waited for a while and neither were present.
I cannot fault Long’s delivery and charm. She has mastered the trick only successful comics do: creating an atmosphere of intimacy and familiarity with ease. For that Long has the potential to become one of the greats. However, her material needs work. Long needs to find a way to transform her anger towards the political situation into something that people will laugh at rather than run away from.