Perfectly described as “Nerdy, wordy, playful and whip-smart” Jessica Fostekew is the comedian, actor and writer best known as regular host of BBC Radio 4’s Comedy Club and co-presenter of the hugely popular The Guilty Feminist podcast, surpassing 50 million downloads.
To date, Jessica has taken 5 solo comedy shows to the Edinburgh Festival, garnering rave reviews and playing to packed houses. She has performed all over the UK and overseas, as well as hosting the prestigious BBC Radio New Comedy awards.
On screen Jessica has been seen shaking her funny bones as an actor in the hugely acclaimed BBC2 sitcom from Sharon Horgan, Motherland, as well as the BBC/Netflix sitcom Cuckoo, and feature films like Official Secrets from Gavin Hood and Greed from Michael Winterbottom. When not performing herself, Jessica writes for comedians on shows such as Have I Got News For You (BBC1), Jason Manford’s Funny Old Week (ITV), 8 out of 10 Cats (C4) and Mock The Week (BBC 2). She is currently in the middle of writing a narrative comedy for TV, a one-off drama for radio and some shorts “just for the shitting love of it”.
Watch Jessica Fostekew: The Silence Of The Nans
(Read in film-trailer voice): “Last summer Jessica did two reasonably significant things. One, a story of pure joy. The other, a tale of entrapment, torment and gelato. This show tells the second story – the horrid one”. Co-host of hit podcast The Guilty Feminist, stand-up star Jessica Fostekew’s epic comedy-horror-story is the perfect antidote to finding yourself all at sea. Or up s**t creek without a paddle.
See Jessica Fostekew Live
Information on Jessica’s upcoming gigs and live shows can be found here.
For over a decade Jess has been a whirlwind of comic invention and linguistic goofing about. She’s just as at home sharing the truths of motherhood as she is showing off her impressive jester’s intellect or performing Alan Bennett-esque mini-plays about the absurd minutiae of British life. Even as a child, Jessica was pretty stand out. Speaking to The Standard Issue magazine, she explains: “I did ballet but preferred football and tennis. An academic dweeb but with the anger management of The Hulk and the grubby sense of humour of Richie from Bottom.”
With a background in improv, it was the early noughties when Jessica first dipped her toe into the pool of live comedy. She recalls her first ever gig in a London bar back in 2008 speaking to Comedy.co.uk – “I remember feeling insanely high and frightened….I had a diabolical mess of jokes which even within three minutes ranged from linguistics to absolute filth…It felt amazing and it went great, considering. I said my things and they really laughed. It was a complete experiment and I was so green. I had only seen live stand-up a few times ever before so I had no idea what to expect…I was instantly addicted, to the fear, the drama, the freedom, the instant gratification and the – what seemed then to be – simple meritocracy of it.”
A year later, Jessica hit the Edinburgh festival with a double act show alongside fellow comic Dan Thompson, brilliantly titled Pecker and Foof Save The World as part of the free fringe. Bringing her first solo show Luxury Tramp to the fringe in 2011 was a defining moment for Jessica. But not, as she reflects, in an entirely positive way. Speaking to Beyond the Joke she muses “I have always worked very, very hard but I spent years making brutally slow progress. I don’t regret it because I was very happy throughout, I just wasn’t a strategist or hurrying in a particular direction. A few years ago I realised that many critics made up their mind about me in 2011 and decided, whatever I did I would be mediocre, solid, safe, 3* and unfashionable. I now realise I must have believed them, for ages, and so I hid on the free fringe and club circuit. Improving but frightened of being seen really – I think being told you’re average can be even more debilitating than being told you’re shit. When people write horrible things about me I couldn’t help it, I let it break my heart and then there’s the whole arduous rigmarole of mending it again.”
Luckily for her fans, her heart did mend. She continues to tour the UK comedy circuit and has brought a further 4 solo shows to Edinburgh Festival, most recently Imaginary Colin, a perfectly pitched piece about the messed-up world she’ll be bringing her imaginary child of the title into. This was followed by her latest show, The Silence of The Nans, a cautionary tale of a stand-up booking gone horribly awry. Both have been met with packed audiences and praise from audiences and critics alike.
When she’s not performing live, Jessica is a regular features writer for Standard Issue Magazine, and has turned her food column ‘Hoovering’ into a delicious hit podcast of the same name. She also writes regularly for the popular TV show Stand Up For the Week (Ch4), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4) and the Sue Perkins hosted comedy panel show, Dilema (BBC Radio 4), as well as blogging for Huffington Post on smirk inducing subjects such as how to survive co-habiting or being heckled by a fat-ist.