Monday, 8 September 2008

Josie Long - Trying is Good (DVD)

Josie Long is a great comedian, hipster and sweetheart, from the looks of her first DVD. I first came across her when I went to see my favouritest artist ever Jeffrey Lewis give a talk on comics at the ICA. She also spoke, and managed to call those of us who still read superhero comics 'a bunch of dickheads...' which made me dislike her. But there was something about her personality and her earnestness that really captured my imagination, so I did a bit more research, lost to her in a game of Scrabulous and finally picked up her inaugural DVD 'Trying is Good.'

Recorded during her tour in 2007, this is a glimpse into the mind of someone full of kindness and exuberance, and loves it when people try. There are great examples of trying in her comedy, from drawing art on her stomach to practising throwing, there are moments of tenderness and exuberant earnest humour that are giggle-worthy. Her talkative nature, ability to keep you engrossed in stories and keen ear for hipsterness also make this a standout DVD. When she breaks out of an anecdote to recommend her favourite author to the audience, it shows a natural ability to tell funny stories and keep you engrossed but at the same time, giving you her entire personality. She is heartfelt, optimistic and eccentric, cool and sweet, and the amount of enthusiasm she has for her subjects, you can't help but have a smile on your face. It's a refreshing change from the usual British fare of sarcasm and piss-taking. Much as I am a fan of both of those things, this manages to celebrate and mock its subjects but in a more refreshing approach. Josie's comedy comes from her viewpoint of always feeling like an "outsider". Rather than making her depressed, she celebrates the unusual and kooky and encourages us to do the same.

The DVD offers an alternative commentary track for the show, a shaky-cam recording of her first ever Edinburgh show, a bunch of comics and zines she has created with loving care and a genuine passion for crafts and DIY, and postcards she wrote herself.

This is twee comedy, comedy of whimsy and flights of fancy. There is something so British and normal about her, and her style is very much the quirky mate who loves everything and wants you to love it too. Great stuff! And she hearts Daniel Clowes and Jeffrey Lewis as much as I do...

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