Review: Hannah Gadsby “Nanette” on Netflix

I made a point not to go back and look at my review of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette from when I saw it live onstage in New York City just a few months ago, either before, during or after watching the version she filmed for Netflix back in Sydney.

Now I will.

Seeing Gadsby live and up close, her passionate rage and compassionate pleas to look at her own life and at comedy itself a bit differently really hit home for me. The literal blueness of it all onstage, from the lights to the backdrop to her wardrobe, complemented the extremes of her storytelling. I could only hope her battle cries could reach more straight white men, either in or out of comedy.

So seeing Gadsby get that opportunity in June via Netflix provided hopeful optimism.

And with the passage of time, this straight white man also saw how her anger and her comedy perspective could somehow both react to the changing global political landscape, as well as tap into the zeitgeist.

There’s a lot of talk from comedians and comedy critics alike about Gadsby’s meta critique of comedy conventions — namely how stand-ups both provoke and release tension through the form of set-up/punchline — and how she manipulates that tension without the traditional release of ha-ha laughter. Because as it happens, this comedy special, this one-woman show, also represents Gadsby’s #MeToo story.

As I wrote in my review for Decider:

She does so because she needs us to know her truth. She needs us to know what life is like for people like her on the margins of power and society. “I am not a victim, I tell you this because my story has value,” she says. “I need you to know what I know.”

Adding: “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”

A generation after Helen Reddy, Hannah Gadsby may not be your idea of a traditional woman. But she is still woman, and she is still human. Hear her roar.

Read my full review on

Her story is a vital one to hear. Even more so for comedians.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

One thought on “Review: Hannah Gadsby “Nanette” on Netflix

  1. This isn’t comedy. It’s social justice propaganda. It’s also garbage. Can I give it it less than zero stars?

    There is a coordinated media effort to push this “comedy”. Who on earth wants to go to a comedy show for a laugh and instead be subjected to being lambasted and lectured about social justice issues instead of hearing any jokes at all?

    This “comedy” special is unfunny, condescending, and is an attempt to remove humor from comedy and replace it with activism.

    The controlled corporate media is hitting new lows pushing this drivel on unsuspecting viewers who are expecting something to laugh at, and coordinating their efforts to create a unified front with reviews and ratings to attempt to convince the public that this is comedy. ITS NOT.

    And you yourself: “I only wish it could reach more straight white men”

    Do you understand how sexist, racist, and heterophobic that statement is?

    You morons run around all day complaining about the sexist bigoted right (falling hook, line, and sinker for the social manipulation and division being perpetrated by the controlled corporate media) while instead revealing yourselves to be the most hateful, racist, sexist, heterophobic scum on the planet.

    Thanks for helping to kill comedy and destroy civilization by pushing your hate and division! (Sarcasm)

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