The Great Gadsby

Or, Why ‘Stand-Up’ In No Way Describes ‘Nanette’


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE WATCH Hannah Gadsby’s new Netflix special, Nanette. Please.

Especially if you’re a straight white guy.

Even if you’re a woke straight white guy.

It’s that good. And that important.

Gadsby’s much-buzzed show, filmed live at the Sydney Opera House, is a gut-punch tour-de-force. It is trenchant storytelling at its finest, masquerading as stand-up comedy. And it needs to be seen, by all of us.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not that Gadsby isn’t funny. Far from it. In Nanette she is hilarious, mixing deft self-deprecation with sly skewers of a whole range of people who deserve it. There’s an especially witty bit involving art history, of all things.

So, yeah, Gadsby is funny.

Until she’s not. Then she is searingly honest and courageously, extraordinarily vulnerable, demanding that her audience not only hear her story, but also help her to carry it, because she can no longer do it by herself. When she shares it, you understand why you have to lend a hand. You get why being quietly decent and tolerant just isn’t good enough.

Nanette is, like Gadsby herself, entertaining, passionate, humorous, sad, furious, deeply felt, and smart as hell. It deserves to be seen. She deserves to be heard — and helped.

So please watch it. | DL