Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, Nanette.
And for good reason.
After it’s debut in Melbourne, Australia last year, the show has been met with widespread critical acclaim and the response from most minority populations, particularly from the LGBTQ+ and #MeToo communities, showed how powerful and necessary her message was. Even more so when it’s placed in today's political context.
Although it’s marketed as a comedy special, Gadsby’s Nanette delivers far more than laughs.
It’s equal parts heartbreaking raw emotion, intensely personal storytelling, and stunningly artful comedic and critical prose.
So today’s blog, half way into LGBT+ history month, we are reviewing the impact of Nanette and how it's opened doors for LGBT+ communities to share their most silent stories.
So the Question today is:
What is Nanette’s impact months after the show’s finale?
For real, you're going to cry. It made me cry.
What is Nanette?
In all cases, audiences went in expecting a traditional stand-up comedy set and were left shaken, inspired, speechless and/or all three.
In fact, Hannah set out to create Nanette as a farewell to comedy. Instead, she used the stage to tell her story the way it had never fully been told - in the most honest fashion possible.
What is the Status-Quo?
Members of the LGBT+ community, too often feel a considerable amount of pressure from society to keep their more heart-breaking stories of discrimination and harsh realities hidden, in an effort not to disrupt heterosexual individuals’ “comfort zones”. ~ Lane Lunsford
We are told, “I don’t have a problem with LGBT+ individuals, so long as you keep it to yourself.”
The U.S military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy from 1994-2011 highlights the level of unease that knowing the details of our lives creates in straight-cis-hetero people.
How Did Nanette Change That Status-Quo?
What Gadsby does in her hour-long special is what so many of us have long sought to do; Communicate our stories un-filtered and un-apologetically in a non-self-deprecating way.
It’s an inspiring Concept; to proudly share our whole story, not just the edited version mainstream society is willing to hear.
While she specifically targets her fellow comedians and the art of comedy itself for its particularly negative impacts on minorities, her performance represents how we are all taught to bring ourselves down in order shield others from the traumas of our experiences.
We have adapted to the idea that we must suffer in order to increase our creativity, and ultimately, our worth. By sharing her story in its entirety - the good bits and the harsh realities - we see that our power resides in our voices.
Comedians have relied on self-deprecating humor for a long time now. Comedians Use bits and pieces of their personal lives as the building blocks of seemingly harmless jokes.
Gadsby takes those stories further, to point out how often audiences are laughing at parts of a comedian’s life that are deeply troubling. Those “seemingly harmless jokes” stir up memories that are not so harmless, but we as an audience are not asked to consider this further.
Gadsby reminds us over and over again that we are paying for her to make us feel something and to question our own role in her trauma. In this way, Nanette in addition to giving voice to marginalized individuals has also created conversations amongst those who have never thought about the pain they have caused to others.
They are left questioning themselves, rather than having Gadsby resolve those questions for them.
But, did they listen?
Nanette stands out because of how far it has reached.
Articles on the Washington post, and culture mass. It won an Emmy. Discussions reached Forbes, a business magazine. .
Although the hits are slowing, and criticisms suggest cis-hetero-men are broadly rejecting it, Nanette is still resonating throughout the LGBT+ community as a piece that empowers us to speak up and in this area, it is showing NO signs of stopping.
Our stories are important and our trauma is real. We are not alone in our struggles and it is crucial that we have spaces that lift us up rather than stirring up fear.
RESCQU NET also values your stories and we offer you the support to share your stories, in a closet-friendly manner. Indeed right now, as an invisible community member, you are experiencing these harsh realities and cruel prejudice already.
We are here so that you can discuss your experiences with others and gain resources in our Support group program. So consider attending one!