Novak Jacqueline urges you to ‘Crouch On Your Shins’

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Comedian Jacqueline Novak’s Unique Take on Sex and Linguistics

Comedian Jacqueline Novak brings an intellectual air to the often crass world of stand-up comedy, launching a thoughtful conversation on sexual tradition in her new Netflix special ‘Get On Your Knees’. Basic assumptions on this intimate act are questioned: What connotations does a sexually explicit act carry? Can sex be perceived as an act of love or devotion? She even dares to discuss the controversial query, what part do teeth play in this pleasurable game?

A Matured Perspective

Dispel all thoughts of vulgar humor and low-grade giggles – Novak’s performance is not a sequence of sexually laden jokes. Instead, she presents her own existential journey of sexual maturity and understanding. Her musings expand beyond the physical act and venture into the philosophical, structured like a narrative with a climax, as she analyzes the process of coming-of-age. Comics such as John Early and Fred Armisen have appreciated Novak’s work, praising her ability to transform mundane acts into cosmic conversations.

An Inquisition into Language

Novak’s show cleverly breaks down the language concerning sexuality. She starts with the style of addressing the male genitalia with words like ‘penis’ and ‘cock’. The former, according to her, is an accurate representation of the organ with a delicate emotional undertone, while the latter is an embellished, empowering representation that requires the approval of men. This analysis reminded me of ‘The Vagina Monologues’, by Eve Ensler, a play that revolutionized perspectives on vaginas. Novak’s work seems to explore similar sentiments for the male organ.

What’s in a name?

Novak stresses the authenticity of the term’s usage. To her, the word ‘penis’ is realistic while the term ‘cock’ signifies exaggeration. Consequently, the overriding theme of authenticity transfigures into her perception of conduct during sexual acts. Pondering conundrums such as delivering an authentic sexual act and portraying authentic amusement during sexual activities, she takes the audience through her journey towards sexual enlightenment. However, viewer discretion is advised – this is a tale of transformation into the ‘queen of fellatio’ – filled with laughs, periods of turmoil, and suspenseful chapters.

Years in the making

Novak’s special is not a spur-of-the-moment endeavor but an outcome of systematic evolution. The show began its journey as a first draft named ‘How Embarrassing for Her’ in 2017, performed first at the Cherry Lane Theater, New York, in 2019. Impressed, Netflix proposed a deal for a special and over the years, it has been meticulously refined and perfected. The current version, a work of almost seven years, under the direction of Natasha Lyonne from ‘Russian Doll’, thoroughly explores the material and serves as an engaging watch. For fans seeking more of Novak, ‘Poog’, her podcast, can satiate their cravings where Novak, in-great-depth covers themes from the wellness industry in her quirky style.


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