The Atlantic

Nanette Is a Radical, Transformative Work of Comedy

Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, filmed at the Sydney Opera House, dismantles and subverts everything about how humor is supposed to work.
Source: Netflix

The most radical thing Hannah Gadsby does in is simple: She stops being funny. It’s about 35 minutes into her 70-minute comedy show, filmed live at the Sydney Opera House, and Gadsby, a 40-year-old Tasmanian comic, has riffed on the gay pride flag (“six very shouty, assertive colors stacked on top of each other”), the pointlessness of bald babies wearing pink headbands (“Would you put a bangle on a potato?”), and her home island (famous for “our frighteningly small gene pool”). Her jokes are riotous, but they’re laced with something darker, more caustic. There’s an anecdote about a man who

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min read
The Fury of the Prep-School Parents
An elite-college education is one of the few expensive things that is for sale, but that not everyone is allowed to buy.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: And Then There Were 10
Tomorrow there will be ... 10 more Democratic 2020 candidates sharing a debate stage. Plus: How a home-goods company got tangled up in the migrant-detention crisis.
The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
Joe Biden Won’t Say If He Backs the Trade Deal He Helped Sell
The Atlantic surveyed the Democratic presidential candidates on whether they support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Only some took a definitive position.