Five Things We Learned From Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix Special Nanette

The best kind of comedy is the one that makes you laugh and cry. It’s the stuff that’s funny but also makes you stop and think. This is precisely the environment that Tasmanian-born comic, Hannah Gadsby’s final swansong, Nanette occupies. This award-winning show was filmed at the Sydney Opera House in 2018 and will premiere on Netflix this month. The Iris’s Natalie Salvo has put together the top five things she learned.

1. The name of the show is actually inspired by a cranky barista that Gadsby met. She named the show before she wrote it and thought this lady would make good fodder for an hour’s worth of jokes. Turns out this wasn’t the case.

2. This show has won the top prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival as well as Barry and Helpmann awards, and it’s clear to see why. Gadsby is especially vulnerable in this show in describing her formative experiences coming out as well as her encounters with homophobia and violence in her hometown, a place that only decriminalised homosexuality in 1997. This is topical when you consider that it is only recently that we legalised same-sex marriage in this country.

3. Gadsby is a self-proclaimed “quiet” lesbian. What this means is she likes the gay pride flag but also finds it a bit “busy.” She is also more likely to be found sipping a cup of tea and having a nap then on the front of a float at Mardi Gas.

4. Gadsby is the queen of dramatic tension here. She describes how you normally make people laugh with a set-up and a surprise answer for the punchline. But here, the surprise comes in the form of her imploring us to rethink or reconsider some things. It is incredible stuff.

5. Hannah has often felt like an outsider. She also believes that her comedy was forcing her to reduce her life to mere stories. This show proves that while her experiences may differ from some people, this show is still a fundamentally human one that we can all empathise with on an emotional level.


Nanette hits Netflix on June 19th.


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