I recently watched “Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby on Netflix and cannot stop thinking about it. It’s a standup show she wrote in order to quit comedy altogether. Instead of mimicking the typical joke structure of creating tension, then delivering a punch line, she decides to tell stories that create tension and just leave you there. At least she warns us. She is an Australian gay standby comic whom I’ve never heard of but apparently had an amazing run at SoHo Rep with this piece, which has become so popular, she might not quit comedy after all. There are so many things covered in this act that it’s impossible to summarize neatly and there are a great many reveals that I’d feel guilty spoiling (although I made Husband listen to one because who knows when he’ll get to watch it).
But how do I talk about a piece without revealing its spoils? Her jokes revolve around being a gay woman who often gets mistaken as a man, a feminist take on politics and art history, and a forthright list of all the violence that has been done to her. It is an incredibly gutsy performance and smart piece of writing that inspires me more to be brave and honest in my own writing, and it is a satisfying work of art to see in this year where the news and our government has me simmering with white hot rage 24/7.