Start watching the ‘Nanette’ on Netflix from the very beginning and you will instantly get a strong feeling that something unique and a very unusual performance is coming your way. This strong feeling doesn’t only come from how Hannah Gadsby looks, or talks, or because she is known as a lesbian comedian from Tasmania, Australia, but only her content and how deeply she means it. Gadsby has made sure that you cannot help but concentrate only on her performance. Only in one hour, she has successfully delivered her to the point, strong, and brutal views on being a lesbian and dealing with the society because of it. Within no time, Netflix has experienced a storm of the audience who are going gaga over the standup comedy performance called ‘Nanette’. And it’s still continuing!
There are many reasons for which Nanette is gaining such massive popularity but, if we need to choose a winner then it has to be Gadsby’s approach on how being a lesbian cannot make everyone forget to live and think like a human being at the first place. In a very simple way which is nothing but by sharing her almost everyday experiences, she has created another window through which we can approach the issue very differently or should I just say, correctly!
“When I first told my mom that I am a little bit lesbian, baby steps, she just went, ‘Oh, Hannah! Why did you have to tell me that? That’s not something I need to Know! I mean, what if I told you, I was a murderer?'”
Gadsby addresses these incidents as ‘Real Jokes’ as she describes her mother’s reaction when coming out to her and how her grandmother wished she would find her Mr. Right as she forgot to come out to her! Not only that, but she questions the tendency of objectifying lesbians or any person for that matter when she shares her experience of how people think she is a man from far and gets freaked out when she comes close.
“I get a lot of side-eye.”
Gadsby also raises the point where people first understand ‘Gay’ when talking about homosexuality and lesbians don’t get noticed as such because of that. However, she quickly mentions noticing homosexual activities in Television, flaunting their lifestyle in a parade and indirectly asking for publicity. The only question she says she has in her mind is, should it be necessary? What about a human being who wants to live an ordinary quiet life and also is a lesbian as well?
“Where are the quiet guys supposed to go? The pressure on my people to express our identity and pride through the metaphor of a party is very intense!”
It is a wonder how Gadsby clearly shows the mistakes we do while creating a definition for homosexuals and turns her every sentence into comedy at the same time. She openly criticizes the feedbacks from other lesbian people accusing her of not delivering enough lesbian content through her stand-up performances and yet she makes her audience laugh harder and harder. Though sarcasm and humor are the USPs of her performance, Gadsby makes sure that her audience gets one thing clear at the end, sexuality cannot and should not define a human being or a comedian! She even expresses no shame in declaring that she will quit being a comedian but will never put herself down in order to get permission to speak up!
“I built a career out of self-deprecating humor. I don’t want to do that anymore. Because do you understand, what self-deprecation means? It’s not humility. It’s humiliation.”
Gadsby won the audience by releasing bombs, one by one, about how ‘straight’ people ideate on the word ‘homosexual’ and think they have the right to decide how the others should live their lives. starting with criticising the social norms made by “straight thinking” society to ending with sharing the most brutal truth of her life that she was raped in her 20s, Gadsby performed a stand-up comedy performance as well as a TED Talk and I must admit, she made the audience laugh and cry with only a single performance! What a gem she is!
In the end, I realize that there is now a big difference between how my perception about comedy was before and how it is after watching Nanette.
“My sensitivity is my strength. I know that. It’s my sensitivity that’s helped me navigate a very difficult path in life. So when somebody tells me to stop being so sensitive, you know what? I feel a little bit like a nose being lectured by a fart.”