“I need to tell my story properly.”
One day later, this repeated sentence from Hannah Gadsby is still ringing in my ears and in the most inviting way.
This is from her one-hour comedy special (though is it comedy?) called “Nanette.” It was released on Netflix two weeks ago and has been gaining a lot of attention for many powerful reasons. I watched it yesterday, and it had such an deep impact on me that I actually watched it twice in one day. I can’t recall ever doing that before.
There are parts that are indeed very funny; she is an incredible comic, both in her content and her delivery. As she says more than once — and this grows deeper and more serious throughout — she knows how to create tension and then deliver a punchline.
In the end though, this special is about trauma and the ways that comedy can fall short. This leads to potent and challenging moments of personal storytelling from Hannah Gadsby, and ultimately, it calls forth the power of vulnerability and human connection.
We all have stories to share, and we all have stories we need to hear. For personal reasons, there may be times when we want to hold our stories close, but sometimes, external forces keep them covered or internalized. There is strength and release in the sharing. Storytelling changes lives. Storytelling connects us with empathy, love, and care.
As Hannah Gadsbury says,
“Because like it or not, my story is your story, and your story is my story… All I can ask is just please help me take care of my story… And that is the focus of the story we need — connection.”
Have a watch. Let me know what you think.
Here’s an NPR story about “Nanette” — Hannah Gadsbury’s ‘Nanette’ Is a Scorching Piece on Comedy and Trauma.