When “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby’s poignant and incisive comedy special, hit Netflix last year, the Aussie comedian became an international sensation almost overnight. While she may not be one to bask in the spotlight, she is using her newfound platform to call out imbalances of power in the comedy world, namely one male comedian who seems to think he’s done his time in #MeToo jail. Gadsby made headlines earlier this summer when she openly criticized defamed “Louie” creator Louis C.K., calling him “a joke” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“He is a joke now,” Gadsby said of C.K. at the time. “And I think it’s important to keep making that joke. He has not reassessed his position of power, and that is why he was able to abuse it. It’s difficult to see a shift in your own power and privilege. It’s not something we’re trained to do. He still honestly thinks he’s the victim in all of this.”
In November 2017, C.K. admitted to multiple acts of sexual misconduct, which included masturbating in front of women comics. After a prolonged hiatus, C.K. made his return to stand-up comedy at the end of 2018. Leaked material from C.K.’s sets have raised eyebrows for including controversial jokes about transgender people, the Parkland shooting survivors, and masturbation.
While some comedians believe C.K. has the right to continue honing his craft, Gadsby maintains he still has work to do.
“Well, he can stop calling people the r-word, he can stop feeling sorry for himself,” Gadsby told IndieWire during a recent phone interview. “There’s a clear path to redemption, he’s just not taking it. He’s being self-indulgent and he’s being a cry baby. That’s not a path to redemption, that’s just throwing a tantrum for the tantrum itself.”
When asked whether there is a path to redemption for any of the accused comedians, such as Aziz Ansari or TJ Miller, Gadsby took a broader approach.
“You can apply it to anyone. I just think there’s an issue at large, and it goes across all issues of representation. I think because we think about men as the default, they don’t know how to let other people talk about their experiences without centering themselves. And that runs deeper than two lonely comedians.”
Gadsby is up for two Emmys for “Nanette.” The brilliant variety special takes on issues such as Picasso’s love of underage girls, personal sexual trauma, and neurodiversity. She is currently touring her new show, “Douglas,” in preparation for a 2020 Netflix release.