Comedian Josie Long on trolls, death threats and Louis CK

Josie Long has been in the business a long time. Starting stand-up at the age of 14 and winning the BBC New Comedy Award at 17, the only break she has taken was to pursue a college degree.

The time in the industry has given her a tough skin. She needed it this year when she found herself at the centre of a bizarre online conspiracy that resulted in her receiving thousands of abusive messages and death threats.

She is currently the host of Short Cuts on BBC Radio 4.

On the fashion and beauty industries:

“The key is, put on a necklace. Put on a necklace, it blows people’s minds...I will never be someone who’s like heavily involved in like fashion or beauty or makeup and that isn’t to do down people who are. Like, they are beautiful exotic birds of paradise for me to enjoy. But I’d rather just be like ‘that’s one thing I can do in 10 seconds’. And it’s a game-changer.”

On not wasting time:

“I genuinely feel like I have reached the stage in my life at the moment where I have no time to waste and I have no energy whatsoever for anything that is not worth my time...I have a list of a few people in the comedy industry who, like, always email me for favours and recently to be like ‘Hi, I can’t do this for you. Goodbye’ and not be like ‘I’m so sorry. Maybe next time. Maybe in 6 weeks’. Just to be like ‘I cannot do this for you. Goodbye.’ I feel like I’m permanently channelling Maxine Walters.”

On becoming the unwitting star of an internet conspiracy:

“This fucking idiot fucking conspiracy theorist Youtuber who sells vitamins decided to create an attack video about me. And so, as a result, I’ve had thousands upon thousands of people, like, contacting me without my wishes. I just had a lot of bullshit to deal with and as a result, like, I think it’s made me feel like I’m sick of making any allowances for this shit...I think about how sexist the comedy industry has been and how sexist the wider world is and I just don’t care about pretending that it isn’t.”

On Louis CK and the revelations about abuse in the entertainment industry:

“For years, comedians have told each other about does feel like ‘Oh wow, something is being done about this thing that everyone’s being talking about for years’...It does feel a bit like ‘Yes, that shit is not acceptable and you won’t be able to keep brushing it under the carpet and you won’t be able to have a backlash against it where you’re like ‘You can’t even be a man these days’.”

Listen back to the full episode of Mohpod with Josie Long here

Sofie Hagen