A quick word about Hannah Gadsby and Nanette…


In case I’m not the last person alive with an internet connection to watch this:

Watch this.

Make sure you’re up for being provoked and moved, but for goodness’ sake don’t miss it.

I went to a lovely gallery tour by Hannah Gadsby a few years ago. She was smart, knowledgeable and funny, but also lacking that usual certainty leaders emit, even those leading a group of people around an art exhibition.

She farewelled us all individually at the end, and shrugged off praise as if she wasn’t sure any of it was any good. Not her talk, not the art; maybe not even any of this whole business.

I liked that not-sureness about her.

I’m often not sure our mob deserves to go on running the planet, but I’ll show up to hear someone who cares and knows about art because it’s a diverting break from worrying about humanity. I find listening to thoughtful doubtful passionate people speaking up tends to help with that.

‘Nanette’ showed me another side of Hannah Gadsby. She is so sure of herself in this show, that she can go where others won’t. She’s sure of her story, sure of her delivery, but most impressively she’s sure of her feeling. Now it seems Hannah has us all talking about her show, and for very good reason.

I do disagree most respectfully with her on a couple of points. Firstly, that she speaks of having persecuted the men in the room. I don’t consider her blistering truth-telling persecution. No one in her stories appears to have persecuted her with truth.

No, I think Hannah Gadsby is doing straight white men like me a great service by holding us to account. She wants us to walk in her shoes, and shows us how she does that without shame, so we might not be shamed or avoidant, but rather moved to help make amends.

The second point I disagree about is where Hannah jokes that as comedy is low-brow, that no one’s coming out of her show that night “a better person!” By having the courage to get beyond a joke, she enlists emotion just so powerfully, and stands a very good chance of making better people of her audience.

Which it seems has expanded rapidly. All power to you Hannah. What a show. What a human. My kids might get a better world to live in if we keep listening to the likes of you.

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