Jacqueline Novak on ‘Get on Your Knees’

Jacqueline Novak on ‘Get on Your Knees’

Jacqueline Novak.
Photo: Monique Carboni

Jacqueline Novak has spent the past few years meditating on the blow job and the language that surrounds it. She doesn’t think a penis has ever deserved to be referred to as a “cock,” and she thinks it’s rare that a boner ever lives up to the descriptor “rock-hard.” The result of these years of consideration is Get on Your Knees, a stand-up show — or depending on whom you ask, a one-woman play.

Novak has starred in a half-hour Comedy Central special; released the comedy album Quality Notions; and authored How to Weep in Public, a book about depression; and while these are all entertaining and certainly insightful in their own right, Knees is clearly her masterwork. In the years that she’s been working on it, she’s turned to trusted friends for notes, like John Early and Mike Birbiglia, who directed and executive produced the new show, respectively. What begins as a hilarious questioning of masculinity and a woman’s role in relation to it becomes a chronicling of Novak’s understanding of the sexual act since teenhood. Part hero’s journey toward the unthinkable act of giving head, part dissection of the narratives we create for ourselves, Get on Your Knees delivers on the promise of a plethora of dick jokes, and Novak manages to do a hell of a lot more in the process.