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‘Nanette’ Is the Most Discussed Comedy Special in Ages. Here’s What to Read About It.

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

‘Stand-Up Tragedy’ [Slate]

Andrew Kahn goes long on the show, in a piece that situates Gadsby within a larger cultural reckoning with comedy. “‘Nanette’ challenges an idea of comedy, humor as truth-telling, that passed as common sense until pretty recently,” he writes. “Over the past two years, that idea has come in for a bruising — if not on the stage, certainly in the public square, where buffoonish politicians, racist trolls, and abusive comedians have stoked a debate about the perils of irony. This show ought to be seen as a product of that debate: When you take the anti-irony train all the way to the end of the line, one place you can end up is ‘Nanette.’”

‘Sara Schaefer and Sabrina Jalees on How “Nanette” Will Change Stand-Up’ [Vulture]

Vulture asked two comedians, Sara Schaefer (“Nikki & Sara Live”) and Sabrina Jalees (“The Lineup”), to discuss “Nanette.” Their conversation is thoughtful and honest, as the women discuss both Gadsby’s work and the light it sheds on their own careers. “When I was 18 I fell in love with a woman for the first time, but it took me until my early 20s to start talking about it onstage,” Jalees recalls. “I cared too much about what people would think and how they’d judge me. Breaking through that fear and realizing that judgment is unavoidable regardless of your sexuality was a huge lesson for me both as a person and comic.”

Schaefer also took to Twitter with a thread responding to a crowd she describes as “American comedians disgruntled about Hannah Gadsby’s special for not having ‘enough’ jokes.”

‘The Transformative Comedy of Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette”’ [Autostraddle]

“Nanette” also inspired a candid roundtable among a handful of writers and comedians at Autostraddle, a site for lesbians, bisexual woman and their allies. In praising Gadsby’s take on art history, A.E. Osworth says: “I have long been a champion of the idea that suffering is not required for art; suffering is waste product. Something that comes out of a learned desire to destroy. It produces nothing. Art, however, responds to culture. And we have created a culture of suffering, that says ‘this is just the way it is’ and places some on top, and some below.”

‘“Nanette” Rewrites the History of Art’ [The New Republic]

Rachel Syme was also struck by the connections Gadsby draws between art, abuse and the way we talk about great artists like Picasso and Van Gogh. “The reason Gadsby brings up these looming artistic figures is not because she wants to take easy swipes at the dead,” Syme writes. “She does it because, as a woman who is very much alive and trying to make art, she says she grew up learning that these men (along with Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski) were the geniuses against whom she should measure herself, and in doing so found almost no room for her own voice.”

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