If there’s been a singular breakout star of television this year, it’s absolutely been Hannah Gadsby — and her stand-up special Nanette didn’t even air on television.
Nanette, a Netflix special that has been nothing short of a mega-viral sensation. Gadsby’s dissection of comedy, and her own place in it as a queer woman, has been both celebrated and dismissed — the latter almost exclusively by men. (Shock of no shocks, the special is mostly about how Gadsby believes men have adversely affected comedy.) Uniquely, one of Nanette‘s most prominent critics, even though he’s never seen it, is this year’s Emmys host Michael Che.
So call it somewhat intriguing that Gadsby appeared to present at the Emmys — not because she isn’t a star, because she is, but because one of the hosts seems against her successful stand-up special on principle. Gadsby nodded at the awkwardness when she stepped onto the Emmys stage.
“This is not normal. The world’s gone a bit crazy,” she said. “For someone like me, a nobody from nowhere, gets this sweet gig, free suit, new boots, just ’cause I don’t like men!”
The audience laughed, and Gadsby quickly upped the ante. “That’s a joke, of course. Just jokes, fellas, calm down,” she said. “#NotAllMen. But a lot of ’em! It is just jokes, but what are jokes these days? We don’t know. Nobody knows what jokes are, especially not men. Am I right, fellas? That’s why I’m presenting alone.”
It’s the kind of joke that could be an exaggeration… but maybe it isn’t? It’s certainly believable, I’ll say that. Most certainly a joke, though, is that when she gave out the award (to The Crown director Stephen Daldry), and the director wasn’t there to accept, Gadsby assumed it had something to do with her.
“Stephen could not be with us tonight to accept the Emmy on his own behalf, ’cause of, probably, me. So I think I just leave now, and that’s… Well done, him.”
And indeed, she left. Irish Goodbye found dead; the Gadsby Goodbye is the way to do it now.
She may not have been the most expected presence, but by the end of Gadsby’s presentation, she was a beloved one. Though we’ll not be surprised if this proves just as controversial as her stand-up special.
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