Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette ★★★★★

Hannah Gadsby has sold out theatres with Nanette.

The first time I saw her perform this show, I was front row at a trial run held before she took the show on tour. It was very small, very intimate.

She talks about jokes on a basic level: 1) build up the tension 2) diffuse it with a punchline. She talks a lot about tension and you feel it because it's true. She talks about how she feels about men, not hating them but fearing them, and again you feel it because it is true. Just like that, the tension sits with you and you're craving for a punchline.

You don't get one because this isn't a comedy show on a basic level. It's storytelling so raw and overwhelming. It's watching a woman be so vulnerable, aching to deliver a punchline. Don't get me wrong, Nanette is very funny. There are still plenty of jokes going around of Picasso, being tired, and bald babies. All before she goes for the kill. Why? Because jokes don't tell the whole story. She has had enough and she wants you to know it. She doesn't break the tension because it's time we felt it. Stunned and silent.

A comic friend of mine once joked about a comedian's mental health being as questionable as their audience's. We tell self-deprecating jokes because it's easier than validating our feelings. We diffuse the tension because we're scared it might consume us. We hide behind masks so irrelevant to how we truly feel, like Nanette as a title. And we're all searching for catharsis, whether we're performing or watching comedy. I hope that this show has allowed Gadsby to find some.