Jacqueline Novak @ Pleasance Courtyard

Oral sex just got a lot less fun

Review by Ben Venables | 09 Aug 2018
  • Jacqueline Novak

Jacqueline Novak just can't stop talking about dick. And for the first ten minutes or so she discusses the penis in the vaulting terms that an art historian might discuss a sculpture by Rodin. 

Beyond that remarkable early routine though, the show only ever seems to coast along. Novak does get across some of the guilt, embarrassment and anxiety around sex, and how this all impacts on a young woman's behaviour from her first sexual experiences. But, she does so more in an anecdotal way than a comedic one. 

She soon proceeds to talk about blow jobs for an interminably long time, to the point where blow jobs become boring. On the evidence of today's performance, it's hard to see why How Embarrassing For Her wasn't marketed exclusively as being about Novak's oral history. That history loses much of the show's subtext too: such as about how sexual anxieties have a gendered division. Instead, it seems more literal and as if Novak is simply thinking out loud in front of a room full of strangers. Thinking about all the times she gave conventional exes conventional head and then worried about if she was any good at it.


Jacqueline Novak: How Embarrassing For Her, Pleasance Courtyard (That), until 26 Aug, 5.45 pm, £6-12.50

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Jacqueline Novak: How Embarrassing For Her, Pleasance Courtyard (That), 1-26 Aug, 5:45 pm, £6-12.50 https://www.jokesnovak.com/