My Secret Life: Josie Long, comedian, 28

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The Independent Online

My parents are … My mum just retired and moved to Tenerife. She's obsessed with Tenerife and her dog, it's very cute. When he worked, my dad had something to do with the Dartford Tunnel. Now he's just obsessed with Facebook.

The house I grew up in ... Until I was 12, it was a semi-detached on an estate – half council, half owned – in the dreary suburbs of Orpington, south London. There was a mix of people – one girl on our road had a pet pig; we did stuff like carol singing and collecting for charity.

When I was a child I wanted to be … a comedian or an archaeologist.

If I could change one thing about myself … it would be to get up earlier and be more productive.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at … navigating. I am brilliant with maps.

You may not know it but I'm no good at … punctuality – I'm always late.

At night I dream of … really scary things, then I wake up and see people standing at the end of my bed and it takes me a couple of minutes to work out that they're not there. What I see when I look in the mirror … Sometimes I pinch my cheeks and think they're too fat, but most of the time I think: 'Come on, let's get on with it'.

My favourite item of clothing … is a dress I bought second-hand when I was 19. It's a weird quilted crêpe material with flowers on it, and it never fitted me until this year after I lost a bit of weight. I kept it for seven years waiting for this moment.

I ride … a bike. It's red, but I don't really love it. I never got over the fact that my favourite bike in the world was stolen.

My house is … My boyfriend and I rent half a terraced house; it's untidy but full of love.

My favourite work of art … is perhaps either Marc Chagall's painting of a couple getting married on a bird. Or John Singer Sargent's painting 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1885-6), of two little girls holding lanterns, which is held at Tate Britain.

My favourite building … I like the Barbican in London.A book that changed me … was 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury. I read it when I was quite young and was amazed by how poetic and exciting it was, and by the ideas within it.

Movie heaven … would be something really complicated with a strong female lead.

The last album I bought … I've been listening to a lot of Laura Marling recently – even though she's 18 years old, which makes me feel like an old person.

My secret crush … is [the rapper] Mos Def.

My greatest regret … is not having done better in my degree. I've always messed up exams, even though I try hard not to.

My real-life villain … is George Osborne, for all the unnecessary cuts he is making.

The person who really makes me laugh … is the comedian and roadside café owner Brian Gittins.

The last time I cried … I cried for about 10 seconds this morning watching the 'Trisha' show, because one of her guests had been put into care and her mum wasn't owning up to what she'd done.

My five-year plan … is to get into the 2012 Olympics, win gold – in anything – then reduce my carbon emissions by 85 per cent by 2015. What's the point? The point is to be kind to people.

My life in seven words … Trying hard and having a good time.

A life in brief

Josie Long was born in Sidcup on 17 April 1982 and grew up in south London. She won the BBC New Comedy Awards, aged 17, before studying English at Oxford. She is a regular guest on various TV and radio panel shows and lives in Hackney, east London, with her boyfriend. Her new show, Be Honourable, will be at the Just the Tonic Caves at the Edinburgh Festival from 5-30 August. For tickets, visit