Molly Stewart

Review: Josie Long, Cara Josephine

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Josie Long hit up Manchester’s Saturday afternoon crowd with discreet DJing at Gorilla, yelling out a pre-gig ‘cup of Earl Grey and I’m ready for the matinee’ holler and acting as the least aggressive hype man the North West has ever seen.

Cara Josephine is Long’s most personal show to date, detailing family and romantic relationships, heartbreak and sex – something she acknowledges was new to her in comedy – as well as divulging in an anecdote that she menstruates: ‘Not her as well! Fantasy ruined!’

This brand of heavily personal comedy might be foreign to Long, but you wouldn’t know it to watch and listen to – and her fingerprints are still clearly visible all over the whole thing.

This is nothing but personal the Josie Long way: catchphrases straight from the golden age of Hollywood, a game of ‘he’s forgotten something’/ ‘she’s had enough’; an act-out of murdering Nigel Farage with marshmallows and the haunting pseudo-Julie Walters fire safety campaign voice. Cara Josephine is as lovably, beautifully silly as it should be.

Though that’s not to say this isn’t an incredibly poignant show, and one with such a fabulously unexpected, uncertain Richard Curtis-esque finale that makes Cara Josephine feel more like a life event than simply a stand-up show.

The wonderful thing about Long is how completely joyous a comedian she is to witness live; you can’t help but be enveloped in her utter enthusiasm for everything.

Long seems genuinely excited by the possibility of all things good; and it’s important to stress that this does not at all come across in a smug, or pretentious way.

There’s a very self-aware style to Josie Long’s on-stage presence; but this comes across more as absolute anti-pretension than anything else.

There is nothing ironic about Long’s passionate attitude, which makes it all the more buoying.

This afternoon’s support from Ben Partridge felt like the most appropriate choice of comic to precede Josie Long’s endlessly enjoyable show.

Partridge is a gentle comic, though that’s not to say his jokes were gentle. His material was beautifully and mutedly presented, and incredibly sharply written.

Partridge offered offbeat observations that were poetic and sharply funny – pointing out that gracing the dark Gorilla club at four in the afternoon felt akin to being in a student union bar having an essay crisis.

His musings on the disproportionate trust required in house-sharing, and a completely brilliant rewriting on Hotel California using a Newquay TripAdvisor review, were also highlights.

Date of live review: Saturday 7 March 2015 @ Gorillia, Manchester.

Cara Josephine is touring until June (including a stint at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival). All dates can be found on Josie Long’s website, and you can read our interview with her by clicking here.