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The Problem With Nanette: Guest Blog by @rod4short

Hannah Gadsby's latest Netflix contribution, Nanette, is being touted as a transformative stand-up special. Comedian and guest blogger @Rod4Short discusses his problems with its reception.

We’re in the midst of a “Hannah Gadsby’s ‘Nanette’” problem,but the problem isn’t that it exists,or that it’s called a stand-up special(because honestly who gives a fuck if you think it doesn’t qualify as “a stand-up comedy special”, not one of you is the gatekeeper of that), the problem is the extremists it’s producing on both sides of the argument.

The “This isn’t stand-up comedy” crowd is just as annoying as the “Stand-up comedy isn’t supposed to be funny” crowd. You’re both extremely loud & extremely wrong.

Not all jokes are funny, but all jokes are supposed to be funny. That’s the inherent purpose of a joke. You not laughing doesn’t mean it wasn’t crafted to be funny or wasn’t funny, it just means it failed(or failed you). On the other hand, if you craft jokes that aren’t supposed to be funny, you don’t know what jokes are, and if you think jokes aren’t supposed to be funny, you shouldn’t be doing stand-up or any form of comedy.

This comedy special has brought out too many comedy purists that don’t seem to understand the humanity of performance. A comedian is a human. Humans experience far too many emotions and situations for a comedian to go onstage and use their experiences as material and have every single sentence or premise convey goofball hilarity. There is humor to be found in what appear to be humorless situations. You can’t ask a person to go onstage and bare their soul to you, then vilify them for talking about sadness or wrongs they’ve experienced. The problem is our society is so inundated with hiding caring about something or someone that to say something truly personal and meaningful is a slap in the face to those that spend everyday ridiculing people that are willing to show that they have feelings. Hannah Gadsby is a person, fuck you if you dislike that. Every comedian has the right to go onstage and say “Here’s something goofy about the faces people make during sex, and since we’re on the subject of sex, here’s how sad I was when I got cheated on, but I’m still here to be funny. It’ll also lead to a punchline.”. There are people behind these jokes. All your Comedy Gods talked about sadness and wrongs from their life and society. If ‘Nanette’ is too heavy for you, oh well. You can fuck right off and go watch Bugs Bunny or something. You weren’t complaining when other comedians talked about their abusive addict parents and whatnot,I guess because they were doing high pitched voices or some stupid shit to mask the horrors of it. Yes, stand-up comedy is supposed to be funny, but you not laughing doesn’t mean something wasn’t meant to be funny or wasn’t funny at all. You assholes preach that every time one of your heroes gets in trouble.

The other problem is the people taking the opposite approach. Saying a comedian doesn’t have to try to be funny. That’s like saying a doctor doesn’t have to try to heal people. Trying to be funny is not only the #1 thing a comedian should be doing, IT IS THE ONLY THING A COMEDIAN SHOULD BE TRYING TO DO!!!! This has spawned so many stories of people saying things like:

“I do stand-up because it makes _____ have to listen to a ____ person talk”

“I do stand-up because it pisses off ____”

“I do stand-up because it needs to be changed”

Stop it right there. If you’re doing stand-up for a reason that isn’t because you are funny/want to make people laugh,you’re fucking up. You’re only supposed to do things because you’re good at them, want to be better at them, love them,etc.. When you don’t, you suffer and innocent people suffer. If you don’t wanna be funny, get out of comedy. Trust me, it’s a waking nightmare for you and everyone else involved. It won’t fix your problems, and it damn sure won’t fix society’s problems.

Hannah Gadsby made ‘Nanette’. That’s it. It exists. It’s here to stay. You can laugh at it, or not laugh at it. We’ve all been disappointed by specials from comedians we love. We’ve all been grateful for specials from comedians we didn’t know. But that’s all it’s here for: laughs. It’s not a manifesto that should be your call to arms for a war, whichever side you happen to fall on. ‘Nanette’ isn’t here to be your religion. It’s a stand-up comedy special performed from the heart and mind of a comedian, whether you love it or hate it. All that matters is whether or not she’s happy with it.

Our society has been in a downward spiral of “My low self-esteem, poor self-image,& all my problems are your fault, so now you have to suffer. My opinions are facts and I will scream them from the mountaintop until you cave!” since the advent of social media and now it’s seeping into all walks of life and I’m honestly tired of it.

Go fix yourself. Stop trying to break everything and everyone else.


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