A Low-Key, Enraged Comic May Have Just Broken Standup

Hannah Gadsby unleashes in her new show, 'Nanette'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2018 3:00 PM CDT

Hannah Gadsby is a quiet, tea-loving comic whose new Netflix show Nanette is being hailed as the next big thing. She's also simmering with rage and ready to quit the business, Indie Wire reports. Onstage in her homeland of Australia, the gay performer eases people in with a few standup laughs: "I had to leave as soon as I found out I was a little bit lesbian," she says of her small hometown in Tasmania. "And you do find out, don't you? I got a letter. Dear sir/madam." Or her advice to straight, white men who feel uneasy in the #MeToo age: "Pull your socks up. How's that for humiliation? Fashion advice from a lesbian, and that's your last joke." Indeed: Gadsby soon explains her need to abandon self-deprecating humor and even stop telling jokes at all.

"Stories, unlike jokes, need three parts: a beginning, middle and an end," she says, per USA Today. "Jokes are just two parts, a beginning and a middle. And what I had done ... was I froze an incredibly formative experience at its trauma point and I sealed it off into jokes." SPOILER ALERT: Turns out that behind her jokes are traumatic tales of shame, assault, and rape that Gadsby reveals with the full force of her anger. She also takes down Pablo Picasso (who "suffered the mental illness of misogyny"), Hollywood heavies like Bill Cosby and Woody Allen ("these men are not exceptions, they are the rule"), and all 1990s comics who joked about Monica Lewinsky instead of Bill Clinton. By the end, it's no joke. "There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself," she says, per Flare. See the show's official trailer. (More comedy stories.)

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