When praising a speaker who shocks the audience while absolutely owning the stage, the established vernacular is to describe them as ‘fearless’. They didn’t pander to the crowd, we murmur approvingly. That was confronting but someone needed to say it, someone agrees. Inspiration is drawn from the speakers’ bravery, they’re commended for venturing into territory of new and dangerous ideas; territory where others fear to tread.
What marks Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby as special is that she cuts against this widely accepted formula of fearlessness. Her nervous shuffle and hunched shoulders, the tone of her voice and occasionally shaky laugh, betray that she is afraid. She’s a self-described socially-awkward, self-conscious and anxiety-ridden introvert who is happiest at home with a cup of tea.
Hannah Gadsby is afraid – but she does it anyway.
An astute observer of the human condition, Gadsby made global headlines today with her opening remarks at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment Gala. As always, her comedy is rooted in, sometimes painful, truthful observations about the nature of the world around her. This morning she took aim and fired at the ‘good men’ who have spoken up in support of the #MeToo movement.
Take a look:
“All men believe they are good” explains Gadsby, reflecting on famous men who have drawn – what she implies – is a false line between their own behaviour and that of others. Her message is that we all need to take responsibility for creating a culture where misogyny reigns supreme and various minorities are made to feel lesser, alone, abused and not enough.