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Why Hannah Gadsby’s "Nanette" Is The Story You Need To Hear For Telling Yours

Australian stand-up comic Hannah Gadsby blasts through the whole gamut of emotions in her thought-provoking Netflix special, Nanette.

It starts off as your standard comedy routine, with snappy anecdotes on her observations on masculine behavior and experiences fobbing off misogynists as a woman mistaken for a man. But as she goes further, you’ll notice something remarkable about her approach: the absence of snark and meanness.



Much of modern stand-up comedy relies on ridicule and the stereotyping of minorities. And yet, here’s this brilliant, multifaceted woman who wields her eloquent humor against nastiness, without resorting to nastiness.  

It gets better. Once the preliminary wisecracks are out of the way, Gadsby zeroes in on the crux of the show: her story, as history.

In a rather unsettling plot twist, she tells of a painful past that’s crucial to her present narrative. Her gentle story becomes raw with emotion as she cusses out her tormentors, only to punctuate it with a punchline. But her satirical approach isn’t meant to shield you from reality; rather, it is the catalyst to telling several harsh and uncomfortable truths.

Gadsby’s story revolves around her experiences as a lesbian growing up in a highly homophobic culture: how she became the target of hate crimes and sexual assault for being gay, her hilariously misunderstood efforts at coming out to her family, and how she battled identity-driven self-hatred for most of her life – all bearing insights that built her into the work-in-progress that she is today.



I am about to perform Nanette for the very last time. #goodgoodbye

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This also dented her courage to speak out on her own behalf. In a society that benefits from the silence of the marginalized, she learned to find her own voice and use it, even at the expense of her stand-up career. “You learn from the part of the story you focus on,” she says. “I need to tell my story properly.”



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The rest of her special comes to a full crescendo when comedy gives way to tragedy, and pointed jokes turn into pure, beautiful anger, the kind of rage that transforms your hurt to healing. If you’ve despaired against heartache, failure, rejection, oppression, or abuse, this is the comedy show that will make you laugh, cry, and want to kick bully ass.

"There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself," she declares: a fact, a reassurance, and a battlecry rolled into one.

Nanette stands out from other stand-up routines because it’s heartfelt. Its relatability transcends all groups and reaches out to everyone who feels that they’ve been silenced by societal norms. It also illustrates the sheer horrors upon which the richest humor is built on. But most importantly, it’s a strong reminder for us to use our voice no matter what, because it’s through our stories that the world learns that we matter.



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Thumbnail And Banner Photo From Hannah Gadsby Official Instagram Account