Review: ‘Sophie Sucks Face’ is the celebration of Jewish culture we need right now

This hilarious one-woman show incorporates Jewish culture, sexuality and even kissing a cousin.

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“Sophie Sucks Face” is a one-woman comedy featuring Sophie Zucker. (Courtesy of Sophie Zucker)

Alexandra Cohen, Opinion Editor

Inside of the SoHo Playhouse, the Huron Club houses a small stage and an array of tables with one main centerpiece: bagels. I’ve learned in my Jews of New York class at NYU that American and New York Judaism is often associated with bagels, matzo ball soup and “Seinfeld.” And this one-woman show has the potential to be in the lineup. I hope one day people will associate this show with American Judaism. Maybe it’ll be: Yiddish, Zabar’s and “Sophie Sucks Face.”

Now, more than ever, Jews need to laugh, and “Sophie Sucks Face,” the alternative comedic musical playing through Nov. 18, provides the perfect opportunity. People should be entertained and think about something other than the all-too-depressing topics on every headline.

Sophie Zucker — the Brooklyn-based actress and comedian who wrote and stars in “Sophie Sucks Face” with producer Zach Schiffman — creates a hysterical world within the confines of a place of grief: a shiva. She combines her own stand up with drama, impressions of her family that feel like my own, and music, with singing, piano and ukulele. 

While Zucker performs, she breaks the fourth wall to explain that the topics she highlights humorously are still controversial. She impersonates her not-actually-related-to-her aunt, who complains about all the things she can’t enjoy anymore because the creators are problematic. When Sucker got to Chappelle, the audience burst into a knowing laugh — this past Saturday, he did a 15-minute monologue riddled with antisemitic talking points.

Zucker proved that even the most distasteful fantasies are funnier when they’re true to human emotion — not blatantly false antisemitic claims — even if that is grappling with cheating on your boyfriend with your hot Israeli second cousin at both of your grandparents’ shivas. 

The plot of the show is humorous in itself. An actress and comedian who says that she looks like “Barbra Streisand joined the democratic socialists” attends both of her grandparents’ shivas. Zucker opens with a song describing how being surrounded by so many old relatives and family friends gives her the opportunity to boast about herself and the successes of her big career as a movie star.

She then finds, in song, that her second cousin Yoni got hot. She makes out with Yoni after a long build up of alcohol and flirtation, and confronts what her actions say about her and her own relationship with her boyfriend, who she admits is too good for her. Although unconventional, the entire situation remains hilarious.

Beyond the crazy plotline, Zucker performs an astonishing one-woman show as a young Jewish woman — something we need today more than ever. She’s able to bring in the hilarious “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-like characters, and focus a story on a female voice. She’s not Larry David, but she brings you into a similar world — a more unafraid version, despite including portrayals of incest.

This run is almost sold out, but hopefully she’ll be back soon, because more people need to see this show. In case you don’t get the chance this time around, you can watch Zucker on Apple TV’s “Dickinson,” in stand-up shows throughout the city and with her improv group, “Ladies who Ranch.” 

You have to be really good to make a one-woman musical about incest, and even better to make it hilarious — Zucker does just that.

Contact Alexandra Cohen at [email protected]