Self deprecation is a go-to for comics, this much goes without saying. In her first Netflix special, Nanette, Gadsby blew up the form of comedy and took self deprecation to its logical conclusion. Comedians will often address humorously crippling anxieties and life struggles in order to satirise them but Gadsby went further, using her platform to address directly the mechanisms in place which allowed for her suffering to occur in the first place. This is something which is seldom done in comedy for the purest reason that it is seldom funny. But it isn’t meant to be. Gadsby realised this and repeated the formula of her last show in this one, Douglas, where she once again taught all of us who appreciate comedy a stern lesson.
[It’s] a more approachable set than its predecessor. Gadsby is obviously having fun – which isn’t something you could say about Nanette – but it’s in no way a climbdown. The show (her 1oth – but also her “difficult second album”, she admits) is perfectly judged, a 75-minute set that proves self-deprecation is a thing of the past for Gadsby, that blazes with well-earned confidence, and that hitches her crusading, patriarchy-bashing humour to great jokes, meticulous set-building – and a new cause. The Guardian
I will applaud Gadsby for in the first instance, doing something which I have never seen in comedy – she told us exactly how her set was going to go. The initial 12 or so minutes of the set were an instruction guide on what was to come, and one joke in particular which we were all to look out for (the one about Louis CK). This is a big ‘stuff you’ to the form and exemplifies why Gadsby is a cut above the rest.
Another highlight for me was her announcing she was diagnosed with Autism in 2015. This, she tells us, was to be an excellent joke coming up in the show! This deferential blasé style of comedic writing is so excellently delivered by Gadsby throughout that she is a real pleasure to watch.
But overall Gadsby manages to provide us with her difficult second album which I am sure will be a hit. Her style, delivery and breadth of subject mater are unique and vast. She is a law unto herself and weaves art history into her sets seamlessly, with a disparaging twist which is so fun to watch. Please go to Netflix as soon as you can and watch this masterful artist at work. You shan’t regret it.