Published On: Wed, Jun 12th, 2019

Maybe I do stand-up catharsis : Hannah Gadsby on writing after ‘Nannette’

Los Angeles, 12 June, 2019: Australian comic Hannah Gatsby, who is currently on the world tour for her new show “Douglas”, says it was hard to follow up the viral success of “Nannette” as she felt like she was living in the shadow of her own work. 

In her Netflix special, Gadsby challenged the very nature of stand up comedy by going beyond the tension and resolution (punchline) to introduce a third act in catharsis.

Landing at a time when the #MeToo movement was at its peak, Gatsby’s show hit a nerve with many as the comic shared personal stories trauma and pain as a queer woman. 

“Following that show was impossible. It was painful to write and painful to perform, but also enriching and healing in a lot of ways. But it’s its own beast. And I thought about it plenty. I thought: ‘I now live in the shadow of my own work’. But instead of approaching it like I must escape the shadow, I thought, ‘How ’bout I just call it for what it is?’ So I’ll just honestly talk about what I want to talk about. Essentially, that’s what most comics do,” she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.

What after ‘Nannette’ is a question that has followed Gatsby everywhere and perhaps this is why she put up this question in front of the audience in San Diego.

“If you only know me from ‘Nanette,’ what are you expecting?’ she asked them.

“Some good drama? Well, I’m all out of that,” she answered.

Commenting on the backlash she received for the non-comedic nature of “Nannette”, Gadsby told the newspaper that the ‘purpose’ of comedy needs to be defined rather than comedy itself. 

And according to her, the purpose of comedy is catharsis.

“Laughter is not the only way to reach catharsis. One of the ways I get it is to finally understand something or someone says something in a way that crystallises what’s been worrying me though I didn’t know it was worrying me. So maybe I do stand up catharsis.