News & Opinion | July 24, 2018 9:41 am

Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” Is Comedy-Destroying, Soul-Affirming

The comedian said the result has been "a sensation beyond my comprehension"

Hannah Gadsby
Hannah Gadsby visits the Build Series at Build Studio on June 19, 2018 in New York City. (Rob Kim/Getty Images)
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Hannah Gadsby, an Australian comedian, has recently taken the world by storm. Her Netflix special “Nanette” is funny but it is mainly an unflinching look at how women and queer people like her — and anyone else who might behave or look “other,” — are dismissed, silenced, and demeaned. The show reveals Gadsby’s fury over the abuse that they and she endured and the cultural norms that enabled it. She calls out men multiple times, both those in power and those not.

In this intensely personal show Gadsby reveals her own gender and sexual trauma, and there is no invitation to laugh. She talks about how she previously made jokes about her story and is done doing that now.

“I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor, and I don’t want to do that anymore,” she says in the special, according to The New York Times. “Because do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility. It’s humiliation.”

“Nanette” is an international sensation and according to The Times, is the most-talked about, written-about, shared comedy special in years. Through her show, Gadsby has pointed the world of comedy in a new direction, even though she vowed onstage to quit the business.