Comedy

Hannah Gadsby’s show Nanette (2017–18) starts out funny but then shifts to long, angry monologues that refuse its audience the release of laughter. By breaking the conventional contract between a comedian and her audience, Gadsby rejected her own former practice of turning her traumatic experiences into jokes. Nanette’s international run and subsequent release as a Netflix special spanned the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, which gauged public support for marriage equality, as well as the international #MeToo movement against sexual assault.

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As It Were by Jonathan Biggins

by
February 2007, no. 288

In this tongue-in-cheek version of world history, Jesus Christ was originally baby Warren, until a celebrity representative came knocking at the manger door to help spin Mary’s unlikely tale of immaculate conception. Jonathan Biggins has examined world events from an Australian perspective, from the dawn of time, when God beat out Satan as chairgod in a narrow recount, to the reign of the pioneering environmentalist Robin Hood, to a rather subdued meeting of the Millenium Doomsday Cult. Through the imposition of modern bureaucracy onto historical events, As It Were lambastes the red tape and political correctness that stifle modern society. We discover that the works of Dickens do not translate well to adaptation by magical lantern, since there are not enough prospects for sequels; Monet is blighted by the cost of absinthe, as the tax auditor refuses to allow it as a tool of trade, and the first run of Kitty Hawk is delayed while the Wright Brothers apply to occupy limited airspace.

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