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.
“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:
— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) June 25, 2018
I can't recommend #Nanette highly enough. Stand-up meets TED Talk meets protest speech meets sermon. Watch it on Netflix ASAP.
— William Stell (@wmstell) June 29, 2018
lucky enough to see @Hannahgadsby “Nanette” in the theater last night.
A. she is brilliant + brave
B. one of the most profound + thought provoking experiences of my life.
C. thank you, hannah. thank you. ????
see it live… or it’s on @netflix
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) June 29, 2018
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) July 5, 2018
I’ve been a professional comic for 30 years. I’ve been studying comedy for even longer. I thought I had seen everything…until I watched Nanette on @netflix by @Hannahgadsby. I was blown away. I urge you to watch it ASAP – one hour and it’ll change your life.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) July 1, 2018
Students in my Intro to Crim and Women & Crime courses will be watching @Hannahgadsby’s Nanette. Heck, I’ll likely find a way to show it in all my classes.
— Tara Lyons (@tara_lioness) July 2, 2018
— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) June 30, 2018
nanette broke me into a thousand pieces and put me back together and i’m different now but also a lot better
— Cool Ranch DuBois (@losertakesall) July 2, 2018
Just watched Nanette. @Hannahgadsby, I'm a straight, white, Tasmanian male and you made me squirm, feel uncomfortable and defensive. It forced me to think from a different perspective. Thank you. We all need to think more about others and less about ourselves
— David Catto (@dmcatto) July 2, 2018
.@Hannahgadsby To say #Nanette is profound and powerful is such a weak cliché when this is your life and you have opened it up to us in the hope that we can look in the mirror, learn, and do better. Thank you for trusting us with your story, I hope we can change
— Louisa Sampson (@Notes4romLouisa) July 2, 2018
Nanette, @Hannahgadsby’s new Netflix special, is incredible. Go watch it.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 1, 2018
Just watched the Hannah Gadsby special “Nanette”. It’s a masterclass in many things, not the least of which is humanity. I’ll watch it again tomorrow because it is that good and that important.
— Cindy Gauthier (@elightkeeper) July 2, 2018
Thanks for all the wonderful messages about Nanette. I am a little overwhelmed, so here is a picture of Douglas expressing my gratitude through the metaphor of a nap. pic.twitter.com/lpnyJx4r0v
— Hannah Gadsby (@Hannahgadsby) June 25, 2018
I am aware that there is a lot of love flowing for Nanette here on Twitter. I honestly don't know how to handle it. So here is a picture of Douglas and Jasper. pic.twitter.com/ov9R0WXTaI
— Hannah Gadsby (@Hannahgadsby) June 29, 2018