Journal article

The Killjoy Comedian: Hannah Gadsby's Nanette

Sarah Balkin

Theatre Research International | Cambridge University Press (CUP) | Published : 2020

Abstract

In her 2017 show Nanette, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby announced that she was quitting comedy. In the show, Gadsby argued that as a marginalized person – a gender-nonconforming lesbian from rural Tasmania – she was doing herself a disservice when she invited audiences to laugh at her trademark self-deprecating humour. Gadsby framed her decision to quit comedy partly as a problem of persona: her practice as a comedian was to take actual, sometimes traumatic, events from her life and turn them into jokes, which she described as ‘half-told stories’. So framed, the problem with Gadsby's comic persona is the way it both presents and truncates her traumatic experience. When she refuses to be ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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