The comedian who brought us Nanette gives us a completely different experience.
It’s a comedy special. There are jokes. There are also parts that have fewer jokes. I don’t want to describe it too much, because then the jokes won’t be as funny.
I know that it’s tough to do a review of this kind of thing. Humor will always come down to a matter of personal taste and, having been a failed stand-up comedian, I can say that audiences told me my taste was terrible. However, the thing about this, much like her previous special Nanette, is that it isn’t so much about entertaining as it is about making you feel something inside yourself that changes you a little.
If you didn’t see Nanette, it is one of the most impressive stand-up routines of all time. The main thing that Nanette pulls off that differentiated it from other specials is that it manages to draw the audience into the mindset of a human being in a discriminated class in the middle of an extremely vulnerable time, compelling a degree of empathy that can really hit anyone at their core. This performance is very similar, but it’s designed to put you in the mindset of Hannah Gadsby as a person who is autistic. It’s trying to get you to recognize that the way she sees things is just different, but that it is not worse or better than how neurotypical people see the world. She’s still trying to create empathy, but instead of trying to just make people feel the fear and anxiety of others, she’s also getting across the confusion that comes from thinking in a different way than the rest of the world.
This isn’t to say that the show isn’t also hilarious. I was laughing pretty much the whole time, including having an awkward laugh at Gadsby’s statement that she blew all of her trauma on Nanette. Since trauma is often a great source of comedy material, I admit it was almost more impressive for her to say that and then do a routine that was based less on trauma than on just personal exploration. The only thing I really think she messed up was not mentioning the statue of Gattamelata, which is a funny sounding word that has never fit into any other stand-up routine.
Overall, I cannot help but say this is recommended, bordering on required viewing.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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