‘Hannah Gadsby: Nanette’ is Funny and Heartbreaking at the Same Time


‘Hannah Gadsby: Nanette’ is Funny and Heartbreaking at the Same Time
By Sheril A. Bustaman

As a bisexual, opinionated, angry and very loud female living in Malaysia where homosexuality is frowned upon (and somewhat illegal as in the case of sodomy), Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette hit me like a breath of fresh air. Netflix, since its inception, has a catalogue of stand-up comics on their line-up, some of which are on my list, not watched. A majority of them are shows by straight white men (Hi, Louis C.K!) spewing angry “jokes” about fatherhood, women or sex, which I find hard to stomach. And while sure, you have female comics on Netflix like Sarah Silverman with specials of their own, and even Asian women like Ali Wong, women comics tend to revert to crude sex jokes that don’t leave a savory taste on my tongue either.

Hannah Gadsby brought a new perspective to crude comedy by subtly bringing forth so many nuances with the issues that she tackled in her show. She began her stand-up special with some light jokes to warm up the full Sydney Opera House. She did this with a peek into her backstory and recounting the challenges of not fitting into the homosexual stereotype. She then soon delved deeper by making a bold announcement that she wanted to quit comedy. Here, she unpacked the problem with self-deprecating humor, and stated the disadvantage of jokes that don’t tell the full story, and showcased the value in stories by telling the audience many of her own.

[This article was originally written for Muslim World Today. Click to read the full story.]

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