Two years ago, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby took the world by storm with her Netflix stand-up special Nanette, an unconventional mixture of comedy and tragedy which earned rave reviews and scored Gadsby an Emmy for Outstanding Writing and a Peabody Award to boot. Now she’s heading back to the streaming service with Hannah Gadsby: Douglas, a new special which directly addresses Nanette‘s success and continues to explore other humorous corners of Gadsby’s brain. Watch the trailer below.
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas Trailer
Nanette was intended to be a mic-drop finale for Gadsby’s decade-plus-long stand-up career. But her atypical structuring, give-no-fucks attitude, and heartbreakingly real stories in that show resonated with audiences in a huge way, and catapulted her to a level of fame she’d never before attained. So she changed her plans, and wrote and previewed a new special in March of last year before filming it for Netflix as a follow-up. (It’s called Douglas, and it’s named after her dog, which you can see some homages to on the stage around and behind her in the trailer.)
Trailers can be deceptive – especially for comedy, and especially for comedians with styles like Gadsby’s, which aren’t always best suited for quick bursts of jokes that can be easily digested in two minutes. Nanette was more of a slow burn (a weird thing to say about a comedy special, but true nonetheless), and an early review of the Douglas preview in Australia paints a promising picture for this special as an equally complex experimentation with form and content:
The tension Gadsby so expertly deconstructed and created during Nanette is less baked into the show’s format, although Douglas does see her explore some personal revelations – which I won’t disclose here – with empathy, wit and some extremely relatable metaphors.
But at its core Douglas is about names and labels, and how they can mean a lot, or very little. They can shape the world, be oppressive and belittling or even a little bit liberating, whether it’s pedants questioning Nanette’s classification as ‘comedy’, living in a world categorized and named by long-dead men or, perhaps, a medical diagnosis.
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas premieres on Netflix on May 26, 2020.
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