ABSTRACT

Hannah Gadsby's widely viewed stand-up comedy special Nanette tackles pressing social justice issues like gender violence, sexual assault, and homophobia. Along the way, she challenges stand-up comedy as a masculinist cultural form and systematically exposes the limitations of satire, speaking the truths we dare not disclose for fear of losing the funny. Satire necessarily requires a play frame and seeks to elicit laughter. Privileging humor as vehicle for serious critique runs the risk of undermining the importance of human rights issues such as those raised by Gadsby. Satire has also proven to be advantageous for some but not others to deploy. Social conditioning informs reception to satire, meaning that certain identities will find it difficult to pull off this comedy style with the same ease and success as others occupying dominant categories of identity.

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