Moontower Comedy Festival: Jacqueline Novak blows audience away with headliner, “Get on Your Knees”


Osgar Nugent / Hilltop Views

The Moontower Comedy Festival is an annual festival in Austin founded in 2012 by the Paramount and Statesides Theatres. This year the festival ran for four days in September.

This article contains references to adult humor. 


After buying a ticket to Jacqueline Novak’s headlining show for the Moontower Comedy Festival, I had a few days to ponder and many questions to ask. Namely, “Who is Jacqueline Novak?” And, why is her comedy special titled “Get on Your Knees”?

I answered none of these questions before the show. This was partly procrastinatory, and also because many of the lay-reviews that I tend to read come from social media comment sections, traditionally hotbeds for the hypersexualization of female comics regardless of their routine.

When I finally entered Paramount’s State Theatre around 9 p.m. on Sep. 25, long strides and arm swings down theatre-style slab steps took me down an ephemeral memory corridor of childhood movie-trips, then to my row. I took my seat and mused at the spotlight shining on center stage. It was so bright, and lay so unwaveringly intense upon the microphone that, oddly enough, my nerves started kicking in. 

This was my first time at a live comedy show, ever. I had no idea what I was about to watch. In the seat to my right was a man in a Wu-Tang shirt, and immediately to my left was a dressed-up couple sipping wine out of plastic cups. Was I in the right place? “WHO IS JACQUELINE NOVAK?”. AND, WHY IS HER COMEDY SPECIAL TITLED Get on Your Knees??

The theatre went dark. Like a spectral hoop skirt, the spotlight pierced through the darkness and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” sparkled through the speakers. With a series of jocular muscle flexes, Jacqueline Novak assertively spun to the microphone and plucked it out of the stand. 

She welcomed the crowd with a soft introduction, commenting on the people still arriving and finding their seats. She obviously had yet to begin her set but her improvised delivery was almost hyperactive, which I, a novice comedy goer, had to quickly get accustomed to (but ended up quite enjoying). After most of the showgoers had filed their way in, she seemed ready to start the show. But, the man in the Wu-Tang shirt stood up, and in what could have been an honestly disheartened voice, Novak asked him where he was going: “Explosive diarrhea,” he said, in what could have been an honest answer. 

I was coming to understand a fragment of Jacqueline Novak. Now, it was time to understand why the show is titled “Get on Your Knees”:

It’s about blowjobs. So much so that, according to Novak, a reviewer called it tedious.

Through Novak’s words, she narrates how her courage as a young woman never stopped flourishing, even while the penises that she encountered bloomed then withered, bloomed then withered. Her theatrically exuberant stage presence keeps your eyes moving while what you’re hearing takes you from sexual education with her friend’s older sister to off-gassing, carpet-finished basements with a high school boyfriend. Finally, after recounting how pseudo-reading Russian novels and sitting on a window-sill reflecting on her college philosophy classes contributed to her vocabulary, she has a conversation in a diner with one of her high school boyfriends, the other half of her first blowjob.

This is where her oral history takes a twist. The boyfriend reveals that her confidence may have been for naught. Her enthusiasm may have been misplaced. Her blowjobs were toothy. On the stage, she breaks down, literally lying on the stage and talking to the ceiling, wondering why she had made such a grave mistake.

But, like a penis, after she withered to the ground, it was time to bloom again. She stood up, and her voice grew bolder as she relived the diner conversation. Her message to her ex-boyfriend grew clearer—teeth were the key to the blowjob. Teeth were the sole reason that any man could even discern a blowjob from any other sexual act. Unlike what the rest believed, to her, teeth were poetic: that which enriched the experience. Teeth were extraordinary, and because they were extraordinary, she is extraordinary. Jacqueline Novak is the blowjob queen.

Now…was I in the right place? When I first arrived, maybe. The crowd was a bit older than me and occasionally laughed when I didn’t. A few wine burps made their way into my nostrils, too. When I thought about it a bit more, though, there was so much to like about this show. 

Whether you’ve been a part of a blowjob or haven’t, at “Get on Your Knees” you’ll feel like a part of the crowd anyways, and get to witness some of the most concise, most confident, most creative live-storytelling that might exist on this planet. There was thought-provoking metaphor and abstract imagery around every corner, and with every punchline deeper into Novak’s set that she gets, you’ll dig deeper into your seat.

Was I in the right place? Yes. This show was tedious, toothy and I enjoyed every second of my mind being blown.

Rating: 5 goats out of 5