Ode to Hannah Gadsby

Last Friday night I travelled from Sydney to Wollongong for a night out. A comedy act that I had long admired was in town for one night only. I booked my solo ticket and caught the train South, smiling ear to ear.

A couple of years ago, I would have never have imagined it possible,  that a comedy show, in the Spiegeltent no less, would grace the Coal Coast. Culture, class and top-notch entertainment finally in the ‘Gong, some 15 years after I left…in search of just that.

Upon hearing of the Spiegeltent’s one month seaside residency, I made a pact with myself that I would support the event whole heartedly. I told any one who would listen that the tent was in town, and with reasonably priced tickets for world-class comedy and musical acts, it was a win win situation.

Perhaps in my heart of hearts, the advocacy work I did spruiking the event, was my way of making peace with my 22-year-old self, who had turned her back on the Gong for the UK in 2001, Who, upon return had lasted but a year before another move to Sydney. Always searching, finger on the pulse for the next comedy show, the next musical, the next music act.

But in 2017 – the Gong, Wollongong, proved that good things come to those who wait. Fifteen years of searching behind me, I was happy to be home turf.

It was the best night out. My Father, who had NEVER been to a comedy show in his life decided to join me. Hannah Gadsby was headlining.

It. was. amazing.

Did the show start with Ms Gadsby stating she was retiring from the comedy circuit? For good? I don’t recall when this remark was made, but I knew very early on that this was going to be unlike any comedy show I had seen before. My Dad….he was in for a ride!

Hannah’s voice controlled, measured and her delivery on point. She did not waver from a common theme thread though-out the hour-long performance. She was retiring after 10 years at the top of her game,  no longer prepared to withhold the personal truths erased from all accounts of her comedy shows, no longer willing to shield her audience.

But not last Friday – with conviction she barely stopped to breathe as she recounted story upon story that revealed deep suffering. From the audience, there was little laughter, her decision to retire was final and we would be free to make what we like of her daring, bold, often confronting stories.

Of course Hannah made us laugh, some cried, her brave account, her honestly, her smile and her generous insight was beautifully refreshing, enlightening, moving, above all, raw.

As we left the Speigeltent that night, John Farnham’s classic played loud and clear ‘ You’re the Voice’. Never had Farnsie seemed so fitting –  Hannah had come full circle, to an understanding of the power of voice, an acceptance of story, and a burning desire to for truth and accountability.

I thought about this show for days after, my Dad did too.

‘ Not all comedy shows are like that’ I told him on the car ride home.

But given the importance of what we had witnessed, the bar has now been set so high that Ms Gadsby, I believe it will be the first and only comedy show my Father attends whilst on earth. Perhaps too my search is over for the perfect comedy act. I’ve seen it – it was hard-hitting, it was Hannah Gadsby. It was in Wollongong, 2017.

So thank you Hannah – an ode to you. In your show you mentioned you have a soft spot for Nanna’s. One of my Nan’s favourite sayings, which my Mother recited at her eulogy in 2014 ‘ Thank you for being you’

Hannah Gadsby ‘ Thank you for being you’ – we need people like you to make up stop and think. And then have a nap.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra
    May 06, 2017 @ 10:04:53

    You’ve nailed it.

    Reply

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