Josie Long, Be Honorable
Chris Tapley 05/08/2010
Josie Long's brand of giddy humour is not short of detractors, and certainly for those who guffaw at the aimless cynicism spouted on the likes of Mock the Week this is definitely not going to appeal. Those interested in seeing a carefully crafted hour of much more aspirational comedy needn't look any further though. Be Honorable is based around Long's confusion over whether or not she can consider herself to have done anything good with her life, certainly she has done nice things but isn't sure if that's quite enough. As a twenty-eight year old typically dysfunctional stand up comedian who has spent most of her days over the last year looking at pictures of a stranger's breakfasts online you can kind of understand her concern.
This stranger who posts pictures of his elaborate breakfasts online everyday, along with detailed notes regarding the photography equipment used, may be considered zany but his actions have unwittingly brightened someone's day. This is something which Josie herself resolves to try and do more often in an attempt to become a better person. This idea is thread throughout the show, illustrated with various anecdotes about those who have inspired her and others whom she's struck up conversation with as a result of this challenge. As well as her cursing her own lack of good deeds this seems intended as a motivational call to arms, to try and provoke the audience to consider their own day to day foibles. Whilst this sounds potentially preachy the use of home-made drawings help lighten the tone without compromising the message, Long is so affable though that it's hardly necessary and her palpable enthusiasm and belief in what she's discussing makes it difficult to disagree. As always it's this charisma, along with the cohesive nature of her material which elevates the show, it is one long thought which gradually develops and reaches a naturally satisfying conclusion.
As Long pushes towards this conclusion though she decides that in order to scale further up her self inflicted 'doing good chart' she must attempt to become more politically involved, inspired by the good acts of NHS founder Nye Bevan (who her characterisation of provides consistent highlights). Here the show begins to feel a little more flimsy, with her political sentiments amounting to little more than 'if you're not left wing you're an idiot' and being communicated in about as many words. Given that this is in the context of attempting to become more politically aware though it is forgiveable, and her interpretation of Gordon Brown as a sad bear does ring hilariously true. It's really a minor gripe in an otherwise perfectly constructed show which actually has something to say, the idea that maybe just being nice isn't enough is certainly fertile terrain for comedy and it is well explored. I would implore anyone to leave this show not feeling as though perhaps they could do a little more good themselves.