Nanette (2018)
July 4, 2018 8:09 AM - Subscribe

Hannah Gadsby's Netflix special seems like it's going to be a stand-up comedy routine but ends up being a meditation on, among other things, the limitations of comedy. Currently being discussed on the blue here. This one needs a content warning for discussions of misogyny and homophobic violence, both emotional and physical.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious (14 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If you are on the fence about watching it just watch it. Amazing.
posted by ian1977 at 12:58 PM on July 4 [9 favorites]

I loved how she called out that essentially we want everyone dead who's a weirdo. God forbid you exist as someone unusual or at least not typical. I relate to that all too well. And how she feels like she has to make things easier for people by being funny, self-deprecating, "releasing the tension," etc. And having to literally leave her home because it's not legal for her to exist. Gawd.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:45 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]

And how she feels like she has to make things easier for people by being funny, self-deprecating, "releasing the tension," etc.

I keep thinking about the story she tells about getting beat up when she was 17. And in the first version, when the guy realizes that she's a girl, he jumps back and apologizes. And it's funny, but also a relief - I may not like the rules of chivalry, but I was relieved that they saved her in that moment.

So it's a complete gut punch when she comes back to that story and tells us that the guy realized the rules didn't apply to her because she was a "lady faggot"and returned to beat her up. It's a devastating moment. And it really shows you how false your relief was before, and how much comedy relies on giving people that sense of pushing the limits of our comfort - but within a safe boundary.
posted by lunasol at 4:15 PM on July 4 [20 favorites]

I loved this too. It's amazing, it is art at it's best, and it will leave a mark on stand-up that's likely to last a long time, not unlike Tig Notaro's Live piece that opened with, "How's everyone doing, I have cancer." I am a bit obsessive about comedy and seen a lot of it, but after watching Nanette, I wondered for the very first time about the cost of comedy. I've always thought about comedy as a social weapon and a positive force for change, but Nanette made me think about self-deprecating jokes and the price comedians themselves can pay for using that style of comedy. I used to think about self-deprecation as being the opposite of being mean and picking on someone. If you make yourself the subject of the jokes then you're not hurting anyone. But comedy cuts, and if it's not cutting outwardly, Gadbsy shows that it can cut inwardly. This is an existential moment for comedy. I think she changed it forever.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:07 PM on July 4 [16 favorites]

I loved this. Very powerful "comedy" special. It reminded me a bit of Career Suicide, in that it mixed comedy and serious subject matter (misogyny / bigotry in Nanette, depression / mental illness in Career Suicide). Neither one felt much like a "traditional" comedy special: Nanette transitions pretty abruptly at the mid-point into something much more interesting, whereas the Gethard special kinda went back and forth (from what I remember).

Nanette hit much harder, though, and I feel it's a stronger performance overall (as much as I enjoyed the other). I can't even imagine doing it night after night on tour, and interviews with Hannah have indicated that it didn't get any easier...

I'm in the same boat as Stanczyk, this is going to seriously affect how I think about comedy going forward.
posted by Anonymous Function at 12:26 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

I was really moved by this. It was profound, and angry and a call to action. It was really funny, and thoughful, I can't say enough good things. I'll have to rewatch, because there's so much to take in.

It's a meditation on the role of comedy in society, especially from people who have been marginalized.

It's an amazing example of the craft of stand-up. At the start, she makes this first 15-20 minutes of the set, and it's funny and honest. And then she holds up that part of the set, and takes it apart, and explains how she did it and why. It's brilliant. That she does this all while the emotional stakes are so, so high, is really amazing.

What I take from this is that comedy is useful for pointing out the absurdity of homophobia and misogyny. And when something is absurd, we might ridicule it. And maybe that takes some of the power from it. But homophobia and misogyny cause immense suffering, and while the response can include ridicule, it also needs to involve action, and being angry, and self awareness about the ways in which you might be complicit. And it involves listening to people's stories even when they're uncomfortable.

Gratitude to Hannah Gadsby for this.
posted by thenormshow at 10:38 AM on July 5 [7 favorites]

No No ... oh well
posted by sammyo at 4:44 PM on July 5

Hannah Gadsby on Seth Meyers talking about the special and the Nanette that inspired the name.
posted by Gary at 6:41 PM on July 5

Me and a few friends watched this without knowing anything about it. In the middle, we all just looked at each other and settled in for the ride. At the end, we had a group hug. It was intense.
posted by domo at 6:55 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]

Just finished watching it. She is amazing. I laughed and cried and marvelled at her skill in deconstructing the act in the middle of performing it. And although I've disliked Picasso for a while, for the first time I have a bit of appreciation for why Cubism changed everything.
posted by harriet vane at 8:13 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]

Very good! It felt a bit like getting bathed in something that I’ve been soaking in; Gadsby’s stances don’t seem that different than other general sentiments I’ve heard on MetaFilter or in the particular corners of the media to which mefites like to link. But dang if she doesn’t express them well.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:22 PM on July 11

Yep, it’s going to sit inside for a while, digesting.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:33 PM on July 11

A final interesting rider: in this interview for The New Yorker Radio Hour Gadsby talks about the show as a response to a diagnosis of autism:
And, ultimately what the show is -and I don’t say it in the show, at all, I don’t make any reference to it at all, but essentially the show is about having autism and my late diagnosis. And so instead of saying, “this is what I have” I decided to show what this brain can do. Which is a real clear acknowledgement of how emotion works and how I feel it.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:52 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]

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