Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
From Aristotle to Freud, many great minds have weighed in on how comedy works and what its social purpose is. In Nanette, Hannah Gadsby adds herself to that list, with a major statement about the social costs of laughing at someone, and about what it means to be the brunt of a joke. This is a blistering, indicting, powerful treatise, but is also darn funny, fleet-footedly offering lots to laugh at, and lots to think about between the laughs. Gadsby brilliantly finds the tragedy in comedy. And even while staunchly refusing on principle, conversely, to go looking for comedy in trauma and tragedy, she offers still a master class on how to mix comedy and message. In doing so, she commands, breaks apart, and reconstructs the standup comedy special format with a powerful message of the destructive power of toxic masculinity and male sexual violence. No wonder that Nanette spread like wildfire upon its release, fast becoming one of the most talked about pieces of media this past year. Nanette deftly defeats the rejoinder to “lighten up, it’s just a joke,” while shining a light forward to what comedy could instead be, demanding that comedy work through empathy not cruelty, but also that comedy and anger can co-exist, and powerfully so. For this, we honor Hannah Gadsby: Nanette with a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producer: Hannah Gadsby, Kevin Whyte, Kathleen McCarthy. Talent: Hannah Gadsby. Writer: Hannah Gadsby. Producer: Frank Bruzzese. Directors: Madeleine Berry, Jon Olb. Editors: Aleck Morton. Cinematography: Steve Arnold.