People Can’t Stop Talking About Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix Special ‘Nanette’


Hannah Gadsby by Netflix from her special Nanette
Photo: Netflix

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s powerful Netflix special Nanette was released to the streaming platform two weeks ago and viewers just can’t stop singing its praises.

The show, which has been described as “funny, furious anti-comedy” and “stand-up meets TED Talk meets protest speech meets sermon,” takes the form of an autobiographical narrative as Gadsby chronicles her experiences as a queer woman, tackling everything from homophobia and trauma to sexual violence and mental illness.

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“I have been thinking about this whole comedy thing, I don’t feel very comfortable in it anymore,” she explains in the special.

“I’ve built a career out of self-deprecating humour … and I don’t want to do that anymore.

“Do you know what self-deprecation means coming from somebody who exists on the margins?

“It’s not humility. It’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak. In order to seek permission to speak. And I simply will not do that anymore. Not to myself or anyone who identifies as me.

“And if that means that my comedy career is over, then so be it.”

Nanette previously won Gadsby multiple awards including Best Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe; as well as winning her Best Comedy Performer at the Helpmann Awards.

It was ironically meant to be Gadsby’s swansong but since its release the Netflix special, filmed in Sydney, has received praise from around the world.

The New Yorker wrote the show “transforms into a commentary on comedy itself—on what it conceals, and on how it can force the marginalized to partake in their own humiliation.”

The Atlantic said the show “melds stand-up and storytelling in a way that makes Nanette one of the most extraordinary comedy specials in recent memory.”

A writer for the Guardian said, “Standup is, at its core, about an understanding of the power of shared space. Nanette takes that shared space and bursts it open.”

Gadsby responded to the praise by tweeting two photos of her dogs last week and writing, “I am a little overwhelmed, so here is a picture of Douglas expressing my gratitude through the metaphor of a nap.”

Nanette is available to stream on Netflix now. Read some more of the reactions below:

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