Showplug: Jessica Fostekew@The Legion

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Jess spends the year performing full sets at all the UK’s major clubs: Late n’ Live, Up The Creek, The Stand, Komedia, Banana Cabaret, The Bearcat, BBC Presents, Jongleurs, Highlight, Downstairs at the Kings Head and The Comedy Club Ltd, as well as squillions of others.

A writer on Channel 4’s Stand Up For the Week and on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, News Quiz and Newsjack, Jess is developing various TV pilots, a number of shorts and is writing for other (big name) comedians and comedy actors.

01. How did you get started in comedy?

I’d done a hilariously expensive law degree that I was keen to really waste.

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02. Where did your direction come from?

This question doesn’t make any grammatical sense, so I’m going to shoot in the dark and go for either A) a father who combined a great sense of humour with a constant disappointment in me B) a conscientious nature and/ or C) ‘South West’

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

The League of Gentlemen, The Day Today and Vera Drake.

04. What inspires you to write your current material?

How much material all the other comedians are writing.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

Jokes in a row, stories full of jokes in rows. A variety of silly voices and movements. Some innovation. Might learn a bit. Absolutely no maths. It’s maths-free comedy.

06. What about heckling, how do you you deal with that?

The word ‘heckle’ originally meant a comb or flax and would be someone’s job to use these on sheep, to get the wool ready for when they are shorn and that person was called a ‘heckler. In Dundee in the 14th C when agricultural working conditions were in decline these hecklers piped up about it all the time to local officials, always shouting at them whenever they could, to get better pay and shorter hours. They gained a reputation for being the most vocal of the agricultural work force and by the mid 17th C ‘heckling’ had come to mean any shouting out or contrived vocal disruption. So with that etymology in mind, now when I’m on stage and someone heckles all I hear in my head is a wee little Scottish voice squealing “I want the world to know that I am a lamb’s hairdresser and in my life there is a lot of room for improvement”

07.How has your comedy style evolved since you first began performing?

It’s taller, but also hairier.

08.What has been the biggest audience you have played too? Was the experience exciting or scary?

600 and yes very scary and very exciting. Both. Like a horror film.

09. What stands out as the worst gig of your career and why?

Comedy Store, 2009. I wasn’t funny and also I’d dressed up too much and was all uncomfortable. And my Mum was there. I played to piteous titters and then got a heckle that rather than dealing with in a funny way I simply stopped talking and just stood there in silence, visibly letting it hurt me. Then a technician backstage told me she found my deep voice confusing and that I should get rid of it. I explained it was just my voice and if I didn’t use it I wouldn’t be being me and she said “it would be better though.” Then I cried just as I walked into a couple of agents there to see me but never spoke to me since and my Mum has begged me ever since to become a teacher because she worries that choosing to be a stand up as a career is essentially condemning yourself to a lifetime of severe psychological self-harm. Ha ha ha. Ahhh.

10. Any current comedians or acts that you feel seem to be producing the goods?

Absolutely loads, I will invariably miss people and I’m not even going to bother listing any famouses but acts you might not have heard of yet who I think are stunning funny and you will hopefuly have done at some point/ ought to google/ follow etc. include: Amir Koshakan, Hal Branson, Bobby Mair, Mick Ferry, Twayna Mayne, Danny Ward,oh, there’s loads.

11. Who would be the partner of your choice if you had to be a double act? Living or dead allowed.

Dawn French. She fills my heart with joy.

12 . What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

I’m being the narrator of a new Sky documentary this summer called ‘Nine Months Later’. I’m taking a new work-in-progress show to the Edinburgh festival this year called ‘The Something And The Apoplexy’. I’m in the cast of an amazing big show called ‘Knightmare Live’, based on the show which was on tv in the 90s, that’s doing a mini-tour in June, then Edinburgh festival, then a more proper tour in autumn. Stuff about that is here: and I’m gigging most nights of the week with just normal stand up somewhere or other, see my links below.

I am the MC for Comedy Plug @ The Legion in Swanage on Saturday the 29th of March, the headliners are Rayguns Look Real Enough and support from Alfie Brown & Rich Wilson. It promises to be a great night. For more details & to purchase tickets go to Showplug Events HERE!


Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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