Josie Long has mounted six one-person shows since 2006 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with three of them nominated for Best Comedy Show in consecutive years (2010-2011-2012), and her first extended New York City run comes courtesy of SoHo Playhouse’s Fringe Encores series — which had the theater’s director audibly over the moon introducing her Thursday night. “She said yes!”
Long will soon have you smitten, too.
Despite the fact that her show here, “Cara Josephine,” revolves around her heartbreak over the course of six months in 2013, when she was 31, and not even knowing she’s 33 now (“it’s true, because that’s how time works”) changes the universality of processing heartbreak for her or for us.
Long’s charm is quickly apparent. Even before she appears, in fact, as she delivers a pre-show announcement from just behind the stage. “I’m going to entertain the living shit out of you!” Long proclaims. “If you have seat belts…I don’t know why you would…” And then silence.
Once onstage, she fills the audience in on some administrative details. Yes, this is her 2014 Edinburgh show (which also sold out runs in London, throughout the UK, and for two weeks in Australia at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival). No, you won’t hear a specific hated British politician’s name within the following 70 minutes. Long changed the reference to Donald Trump. “It’s the same point,” she says. “But also, what a treat. What a gift!” And even just since last summer, speaking of gifts, could she or any of us imagine — and now, please try not to imagine — the prime minister “not fucking a pig?!” Sorry. Now you know how we feel about it!
But back to Long and her personal longing for love once more.
Heartbreak feels much like war, she has learned over the past two years. In the throes of a relationship in decline, denial reigns. Only afterward do you realize how grave your mistake.
Each heartbreak, Long acknowledges “is a cunty snowflake,” unique to your own experiences. For her, having a mother who despises all men, yet also must have a man in her life at all times, may not represent the best role model. Then there’s her sister, engaged so many times she wears the rings of past would-be suitors as a necklace.
And yet. Her sister found love, and gave birth to a daughter — Josie’s niece, so named Cara Josephine — and with it, hope for her yet.
In the meantime, Josie Long will maintain her affinity for saying modern phrases and lyrics in the style of 1920s/1930s film dialogue, singing the hits of 2011 in the style of Bob Dylan, and in between, imagining herself as a love poet with catchphrases aplenty.
Take that Trisha Goddard. Whoever she is.
And take that, too, Walt Whitman. Josie Long will be our captain. O captain, our captain! Rise up and ring your bells! At least for the next 10 nights. And then “she’s had enough” of us New Yorkers. For now. We can only hope “she’s forgotten something” and shall return again.
Josie Long: Cara Josephine plays through Oct. 25, 2015, at SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., New York, NY. Running time: 70 minutes. Tickets: $25