Hannah Gadsby: Douglas

Hannah Gadsby in the comedy special 'Hannah Gadsby: Douglas.'
Hannah Gadsby in the comedy special 'Hannah Gadsby: Douglas.'
Photo: Ali Goldstein/Netflix


5/5 Stars


Hannah Gadsby returns for her second special and digs deep into the complexities of popularity, identity and her most unusual dog park encounter. 


The Australian comedian's second Netflix special is definitely different from her first but holds its own weight as it exhibits her sheer brilliance and amazing comedic skills.

Hannah Gadsby wasn't widely known before her "comedy" special Nanette. She had done most of her work in Australia with one of her biggest roles being writing for and playing the character in Josh Thomas' critically acclaimed Please Like Me.

Then, in 2018, she, in her own words, "broke the contract" of what people expect from a comedy show and gave us all Nanette; a show that looks like a comedy act in the beginning and then pulls the rug out from under your feet as it tells the story of homophobia, sexual assault and trauma. It was revolutionary. It was brave. It was (and still is, quite frankly) what the world needed to hear.

If you haven't seen Nanette, I implore you to add it to your watchlist, but you don't have to see it to enjoy Douglas.

Douglas is an entirely different show and is named after Gadsby's dog. She jokes in the very beginning when the audience cheers at the mention of Nanette that "it was a particular show of a very particular flavour." She went and used up all her trauma, and if she had known, she could have at least made a trilogy.

So while there's a slight sprinkling of trauma (because, well, life), it's definitely different, but still so uniquely Hannah Gadsby.

Gadsby starts off Douglas by telling everyone what to expect. Literally gives you a table of contents as though you're getting into a very interesting book. While she says it's not really the start of the show, even her explanation of how she's going to meet the audience's expectations is hilarious.

I sat in awe while I watched this incredibly talented woman, who reveals things about herself and punches up in the best way, and thought: "I want to be this cool when I grow up."

The recurring theme in the show is autism, and Gadsby talks about her diagnosis with candour and humour, while also giving a nice jab to the anti-vax movement.

A blow-by-blow account of the show from the person performing might seem a bit anti-climactic, but it actually enhances the experience. You see, the show's theme is autism and often, a trigger for autistic people is being unsure of what happens next. So she's added an extra layer to an already brilliant show that can truly be appreciated.

The actor and comedian is obviously more confident about herself and her abilities in this Netflix special, and it's a beautiful thing to watch the progression of such a talented person who is genuinely funny.

The show is Gadsby showing that she's learnt what makes her different, is owning it and is showing it to you. She uses her autism, her trauma and her exasperation for her haters as tools to enhance her comedy and relatability, all while giving off this wonderfully cheeky and confident energy that's infectious.

If you're offended by the following: "man flakes", "a gentle needling of the patriarchy" or think that Louis C.K, is still a great comedian, then this show is not for you.

"I'm not here to collect your pity. I'm here to disrupt your confidence," she says, and she delivers on her promises.

It's feminist. It's smart. It's funny. It subverts some of your favourite jokes, and the ending is spectacular.

Watch it. Get your problematic family members to watch it. Talk about it on Twitter. Everyone should see this show.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: (Warning: This trailer contains strong language)


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