Jessica Fostekew: Brave New Word
Funny and fascinating exploration of words
This article is from 2012.
Generally speaking, sitting in front of a stand-up comedian for an hour is an educational experience (even if the only thing you learn is that you want to be somewhere else). Happily, sharing 60 minutes with Jessica Fostekew is a learning curve in the best sense, acquiring knowledge while having fun.
Fostekew’s show is about etymology, the study of origins and meanings of words and phrases. For example, the word ‘handsome’, which we now accept means ‘easy on the eye’ is, Fostekew informs us, derived from the old English words ‘hand’ and ‘some’ meaning ‘easy to handle’. This is the kind of slippage that Fostekew finds – and makes – funny when she puts it in the context of boyfriends.
And if you want to discover the roots of ‘one for the road’, ‘off the wagon’ and ‘hangover’, then this is the show for you. Fostekew’s a charming and witty stage presence, and her mining of language for its true meanings is both fascinating and funny.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug (not 14), 6.30pm, £8--£9.50 (£7--£8.50).