Image taken from Netflix
Australian Hannah Gadsby up-ended American comedy last year when her freshman Netflix special “Nanette” made us all see that there was a whole new way of making fun of our society without being misogynistic and/or racist. She gave us a new definition of punching up managing to cover sexual assault and bullying in a comedy routine, and not make it squicky.
“Douglas” is the title of her latest Netflix special, named after her dog (and, we learn, a interior private part of the female anatomy that was named after a man because he was the first to “discover it”). It is 90 minutes of well-crafted queer, feminist, intellectual musings on how a foreign-born female-bodied comedian sees America with the caveat that – surprise – since we last saw her she has realized she’s on the autism spectrum. And once again, Hannah Gadsby manages to make that hilarious.
Of course, one of the reasons I love Hannah Gadsby is because she does all this by weaving in obscure art history lessons, as she has a degree in art history and so do I. Last special she used Picasso to show us the inherent misogyny in the lives of the artists we revere; this time she used Renaissance art to show how ridiculously women have been depicted over the ages. As a bonus, she ended the show with a Renaissance reference to Louis C.K.’s career’s end that really worked.
“Douglas” is as good as, if not better than, “Nanette,” and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how was going to pull that off.