Hannah Gadsby on Coming to Philly, Dogs, and What It's Been Like in the Year Since "Nanette"

If you loved Hannah Gadsby's breakout Netflix sensation Nanette, get excited for her Philly show!

June 11, 2019
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Honoree Hannah Gadsby attends the 7th Annual Australians in Film Awards Gala at Paramount Studios on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for for Australians in Film)

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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First, a flow chart:

Have you seen "Nanette," Hannah Gadsby's Netflix special? If YES, skip to paragraph 4.

If NOT, click here, go watch it, and come back in about an hour. I mean it.

I remember when Nanette started bubbling up through Philly's comedy community. There had never been ANY comedy special that I can think of that was talked about so much. It became a worldwide sensation in part because its gambit--Gadsby stated in the show that she was quitting comedy--made it an anti-comedy-as-we-know-it manifesto. But mostly it was the raw emotion she used to tackle weighty subjects like trauma, queer identity, sexism, the way we tell stories in comedy and society at large...and how much of a jerkstore Picasso was (it is still technically a standup show, and VERY funny).

It's an emotional watch, and a cathartic one that changed the way I and a lot of my friends and peers look at comedy, connection, and what those two things combined can really do. So I was beyond excited to get a chance to speak with Hannah Gadsby!

Her new show, Douglas, is touring the US right now, and will be at the Merriam theater on June 23rd. There are two shows but one is sold out so get your tickets right here if you haven't yet. According to the press materials, Douglas is "the only one who can help her follow up on the trail blazed by her last show: Nanette. Hannah is all set to take the mysterious Douglas for a trot around America for her first ever US tour."

Turns out Douglas is her dog, so of course we had to talk dogs, too.

Here are some other highlights:

On the importance of Nanette:

"Success has come out of it, that's not the point of it. For me the point of it is that people have been able to let me know that they see my humanity but also affirming theirs. This has been an incredible exchange, relaly."

How important it is to be open about feeling "stuck" or demoralized and how it's a big part of the process of growth:

"I think it's important to say that when you feel demoralized, that's where the grit and the graft and the actual stuff comes from. Success is not a great way to build or grow." 

 How Douglas is different than Nanette:

"I'm not ignoring the fact that Nanette happened, but I'm not trying to build on what she did. I think that would be a foolish endeavor...but also, you know, I have been changed because of what happened with Nanette, so, if I'd have tried to remain in that place then I wouldn't be able to claim that my voice is authentic, and I think that's part of what Nanette was, it's authentic. [Douglas] is framed around Nanette because Nanette has framed my life all of a sudden, but it's a very different beast."

One thing that's the same: more art history! One of my favorite parts of Nanette comes back this time around and we talk about that, too.

Listen to the whole thing: