Everyone was posting about how powerful Nanette, a comedy special on Netflix by Hannah Gadsby. was and how they were all reeling through its power and emotional content. One of my weaknesses, I think, is that I’m a little wary and cautious about hype. I tend to stay away from it.
I think deep down, it’s part of my insistence on having my own identity and not allowing myself to move with the trends and the current flow of the zeitgeist. I really feel like I have to walk to the beat of my own drum and I do that by staying away from the general current and building my own thoughts on things.
My need for my own identity is so strong because I spent so much of my youth trying to fit in and to be taken out of the boxes everyone has been assigning to me.
But I had some time on my hands last Saturday and I didn’t want to watch a television show because I knew I’d end up bingeing it and finishing in the morning and I wanted to sleep before 1am. I didn’t want to watch a movie. So I watched Nanette.
And I now count myself as one of the many people who have been emotionally wrecked and moved and changed by that show.
I feel like it would be an injustice to call it just a one-hour comedy special. Because it’s not just that. I’d like to think of it as some sort of one-woman theatrical piece. It’s a monologue. It’s a dramatic monologue that is one part theater, one part standup, and one part sermon.
It’s captivating. It’s riveting. It’s tension-filled. It’s confrontational. It’s heartbreaking. It’s moving. It’s absolutely well-written. It’s brilliant. It’s thought-provoking. It’s all these things and more.
And it’s funny too. In that biting way as she tells her story and, by doing so, she began to tear down the damage that was done to her, the damage done by homophobia, the damage done by bigotry and hate, and the damage done by the patriarchy.
She breaks down the structure of comedy and storytelling and how comedy becomes complicit in reliving trauma and how it recycles pain, which makes it harder to let go. It served as a reflection of my own nature to be self-deprecating and how it does harm to me because it forces me to ask permission to say my piece.
Nanette has taken me to task about my need for permission to speak up and how my self-deprecation has given others permission to speak over me and rob me of my agency.
“Hindsight it a gift. Stop wasting my time.”
— Hannah Gadsby from Nanette
It is a terrifying one-hour, a brilliant piece of work, that needs to be seen because it questions the danger of comedy in these incendiary times and how important it is to be connected and to find that connection but to also be aware of the kind of connections we are making.
There are wonderful stories about small town conservative mindsets that oppress and harms and there are explorations on the nature of men in power, men in art that goes unaccounted for. There are segments on mental health. And there is trauma there.
And the importance of speaking it out and setting it free.
It’s brilliant and I am still reeling from the effects this show has made on me.
“Hindsight is a gift. Stop wasting my time.” This is my new motto. This is something that will stick with me for a very long time.
And I’m thankful for that Saturday where I had an hour to kill and made that decision o watch this show. There’s so much I learned in the show about my place in the LGBTQIA community. It has helped me face my own internalized homophobia and it has helped me recognize the fact that as much as I try to champion and support the lesbian community, I haven’t done enough to try and understand their struggle and their points-of-view.
I’m still learning and Nanette has helped me face that.
Watch this show. It’s going to change your life for the better, I promise you.