Note I: Distinctly possible this will end up incorporated into an IBWT video piece in the near-future, but packed-weeks being what they are wanted to get the text up just in case.
Note II: Given that this is an overview of a comedy special, it includes the discussion of both jokes and punchlines. If you’ve yet to watch NANETTE and feel inclined to, consider that your Spoiler-Warning.
If you follow the world of comedy and Netflix standup comedy specials at all you’ve probably seen or heard the chatter about NANETTE, an intentionally nonsensically-titled special by Tasmanian comedienne Hannah Gadsby that – depending on who you ask – is either an unfunny lecture devoid of laughs launched by an angry vindictive lesbian who wants to destroy comedy forever or a glorious medium-redefining masterpiece that will change the way you think about the very concept of humor… because it’s an unfunny lecture devoid of laughs launched by an angry vindictive lesbian who wants to destroy comedy forever.
You may think I’m being hyperbolic but the reaction really has been that extreme, with the special and Gadsby herself alternately celebrated and attacked in equal measure with language that suggests nothing so much as the “Social Justice Left” having finally found it’s own answer to the late Sam Kinison. So imagine my relative surprise – coming, it must be said, from my own position of relative privilege and general unfamiliarity with Gadsby’s previous work – in sitting down to watch the thing and discovering that this supposed cluster-bomb of stand-up comedy antimatter was something so “normal” and approachable… that is, of course, until it no longer wants to be, i.e. when Gadsby tips her hand as to the true nature of her set – but then that’s the the whole point. Continue reading