Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Hannah Gadsby
Published 10 Aug 2017

Gadsby is giving up standup. This will be her final show. For the many of us who have greatly enjoyed her work so far—not to mention the many starred reviews and awards over the years—it's a massive disappointment. But by the end of her hour you really can't argue with her.

Her problem is that as a comedian her job is to create tension in the room then diffuse it with the punchline; with laughter. Stories meanwhile, she argues, create tension but explore it, and bring about some kind of catharsis. She reveals, truly shockingly, that there are stories she told in past standup shows that she couldn't finish because of that need for a punchline. She had to hold back. Towards the close of the show there are moments where she doesn't cave in and diffuse the tension, and oh, is the silence as the room absorbs it powerful.

She's angry as she explores how societies around the world have repeatedly bashed women. True to form, she delves into her knowledge of art history, examining religion's many, many examples of inherent prejudice. And that infects the present day, enabling the election of a pussy-grabbing president, and allowing famous men on sexual assault charges to be more concerned about their reputations than about what got them arrested in the first place.

Whatever she does next, let's hope that it's something we can all sit in on and witness. Because whatever it is, it's going to be good.