Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Jessica Fostekew: Page 2 of 2

6. What do your children think of your job?
 
He’s 2. Some evenings he stands by the stairs to the front door and says “Mummy gone to work” even when I’m clearly standing right there. So I would say how he feels about it that this stage is “inquisitive” and/or “emotionally manipulative.” He’s got no idea that comedy is what’s keeping him in Pom Bears.
 
7. What's the worst thing about being a comedian?
 
How much less baseline, animal joy you take from comedy at all - how much harder it becomes to laugh at actual comedy.
 
8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?
 
Oh, thank you. 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.
 
Then bam, I got pregnant and I felt my career suddenly come into focus. I got a fire in me for comedy, a real one, and in that I forged a bit of armour for my heart I think. It was like ‘oh this is going to be potentially much harder to do now, oh, well then I REALLY want it.’
 
I am more driven than ever before, I’m more confident than ever before. When good things happen I know that I deserve them. I know my strengths and voice, the things I love and want more of and those that I’m going to phase out, and I think I can agree with you now, yep - I’m an excellent comedian. And actor. And writer. And Mother, but sometimes I’m awful at all those things too. I’ll never be a prick about it or forget that there will always, always be room to be better.
 
9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?
 
Half as much as my friends from University. I’d like to say I just don’t want to worry about money any more but I’m greedier than that, one day I’d like to be so loaded that I can go on holiday to a Center Parcs during half-term.
 
10. How important is luck in terms of career success? Have you had lucky breaks?
 
No. That was easy. Haha.
 
Nah, behind every ‘break’ I’ve had has been years of careful graft. And I think that’s good. Earning things feels much better than just getting them.
 
11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you –
or do you think you fit into a third category?
 
Well golf makes me want to self-harm, so the ‘anguished soul’ category it is. Nah, I’m not a plodder, I really feel my feelings.
 
12. Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?
I wish I was allowed to say my son, when I hear him singing to himself I feel like my heart is going to smash through my ribs, in a nice way. In a lovely way. My favourite person I don’t know is Victoria Coren Mitchell. I’ve got an embarrassing mind-crush on her. The tumbleweed, horror-comedy of her Only Connect script and delivery and her brilliant journalism. And I think she’s stunning. She’s exquisite.
 
13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).
 
No. Because I’ve only got one short, sweet, life. Oh God, I hope I hadn’t made you lose the war!

 

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