Ten Steps To Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby
May 20, 2023 9:20 AM - Subscribe

"There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself."--Hannah Gadsby, Nanette (CW: assault, molestation, rape, injury, isolation, suicidal ideation, body image or other mental health difficulties)

from the inside flap:
Hannah Gadsby's show Nanette is a scorching critique of the way society conducts public debates about marginalized communities. When it premiered on Netflix, it left audiences captivated by their blistering honesty and their singular ability to take them from rolling laughter to devastated silence. Ten Steps To Nanette continues in Gadsby's tradition of confounding expectations and norms, properly introducing us to one of the most explosive formative voices of our time.
Harrowing and hilarious, Ten Steps To Nanette traces Gadsby's growth as a queer person, to their ever-evolving relationship with comedy, and their struggle with late-in-life diagnoses of autism and ADHD, finally arriving at the backbone of Nanette: the renouncement of self-deprecation, the rejection of misogyny, and the moral significance of truth-telling.
posted by winesong (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
CW: from the book itself: "Seriously, though, I am triggering all of the warnings. If you are distressed by things like assault, molestation, rape, injury, isolation, suicidal ideation, body image or other mental health difficulties, please read on with caution, if you decide to read on at all. I see you, I support you. Breathe easy, my friends."

Brilliant, funny, sad, horrifying, impressive, amazing in the actual sense of W O W I am amazed.
In the beginning of the book, there are frequent STOP! sections, with some terrific details as to politics, historical background, especially in regards to Tasmania and its relationship with Australia and homosexuality.
Wondering if anyone has seen a live show of Nanette, since the book makes it clear that the show evolved over two years before the special was filmed, no two shows alike.
Again, I'm amazed, and grateful that they did this, to share with the world what it's like to be them.
posted by winesong at 9:36 AM on May 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

Winesong: I saw Nanette live at its debut run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It was incredible.

I also saw Gadsby do a trial version of the show about two weeks before then. And that was something I'll remember until I die.

Lots of comedians do free trial shows before their Comedy Festival run. Most of those shows are 80-90% finished, it's just about fixing the timing and making sure all the jokes land.

Gadsby's trial show was not 80% finished. I don't think it was even 20% finished.

They came on with nothing but a fist full of index cards, which they read out one at a time then threw them to the floor. Most of the cards were about Picasso, and his horrible treatment of women, and how his abuse gets overlooked because he's a genius. There were no jokes, no structure. There was just an enourmous fury.

When we left after Gadsby finished, I said to my partner "I have no idea what that show is going to be about, but it is going to be amazing." And I was right.
posted by davidwitteveen at 2:44 AM on May 21, 2023 [12 favorites]

Davidwitteveen: thanks for replying in detail. There is a description of that show in the book, including the fact that they'd had the cards in the perfect order and then dropped the stack moments before going on stage, and going through with it anyway. And how this eventually helped them learn to insert phrases into the show, to help themselves, because they didn't want to tic or stim onstage.
posted by winesong at 9:01 AM on May 21, 2023 [3 favorites]

Gadsby's newest special "Something Special" is on Netflix now. We just watched it last night and it was really wonderful. It's about Hannah's relationship with their wife Jenno, with many detours along the way. They are the happiest I've ever seen them (I've seen Nanette and Douglas). There is some talk of the death of a couple of animals, if that is a trigger.

The book sounds wonderful. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
posted by ceejaytee at 4:34 AM on May 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

My wife and I saw the Something Special show in San Francisco last year (I think it was called Body of Work at the time). Great show.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:36 PM on May 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

Gadsby narrates the audiobook, with perfect comic timing -- strongly recommend!
posted by Jesse the K at 6:30 PM on May 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

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