Nanette

Nanette_Upset-Digital-Fox-Media

Didn’t like it. I don’t know why I feel the need to be vocal about it though, because I want to just let people have it, if it meant something to you I’m happy, and the last like 8-10 minutes were very powerful, but the HOUR before that just wasn’t funny to me. I wish it was a much shorter talk or lecture because I loved some of the points she made, but it wasn’t really stand up to me, and I read an article that was like, “this changes stand up!!” but I don’t know, stand up is just talking with jokes in it and there weren’t very many at the end which was the best part and the ones that were at the beginning I didn’t really like.

Also there were a lot of sweeping things she said about comedy in general that I didn’t think were true/agree with. Like, ok FOR YOU comedy made you see your coming out as one thing and “sealed the trauma” but a lot of people, myself included, use comedy to actively process things as they’re happening and after the fact. And the idea that comedy can never tell the end because the resolution isn’t funny, idk Mike Birbiglia has built a pretty successful career on telling very inclusive nuanced stories that are very hinged on the ending, and lol that I’m using Mike Birbiglia to prove a point because he’s not really my favorite either, but just–that statement isn’t really true.

I love that she’s telling her story, I liked a lot of the connections and points she made, all the stuff about humanity vs. reputation and how gender plays into who we allow to tell our stories and what that says about us, but again, I wish that had all been a 42 minute TED talk not an hour plus stand up special. Because when you call it stand up I expect to laugh and I didn’t really, outside of 4-5 times. I nodded at things and I empathized, and valued her, but I wasn’t laughing.

I also didn’t like her delivery. She laughed after almost every thing she said in the first hour, and it felt like a mollification and it bothered me. Just say the joke. And the thing she said about self-deprecation, no one made you do that type of comedy. Just change it if you don’t like it. And it bothers me to make a special about how you need to quit comedy. Stop telling me why you need to quit comedy. I did not like that as the thematic refrain. Just quit then. Or do a play. It really rubbed me the wrong way.

Also the whole, meet people with love and humanity-I get it, and sometimes yes, but not all the times. Sometimes that’s just the same respectability politics shit. And the “anger is never productive” thing, ummm, sometimes it is. When it’s civil disobedience and protest and organized political action it is. It’s funny because she said Picasso’s mistake was that he assumed his experience spoke for everyone but that’s kind of what she did too, she assumed problems and solutions based on her experiences which while very valid aren’t the complete picture. And again, I’m not trying to negate any part of her experience, have it- I’m glad to learn and know about it, but structurally and stylistically it did not work for me.

I mean, even the name thing bothered me. You named it after a girl you thought was interesting but turned out not to be? Ok? Honestly, I would like it more if she never tried to explain it at all and left it a mystery but to give a one line, “Ah yeah it means this, not that big of a deal” feels so unartistic to me.

I did like her as a person and I’m happy if someone needed to hear what she was saying. But so much of it I didn’t like. Also the refrain of “not enough lesbian content” it clearly bothered her SO much a woman said that to her and instead of writing a joke about it, she just told us about it, then retold a bunch of jokes about her being a lesbian she wrote a while ago, then referenced that woman at the end of all of them with that line, then went BACK to tell us that telling those things wasn’t her whole truth and was limiting to her.

Why go through all that just to get there, why not just tell the whole truth the first time? And make it funny? Idk clearly it’s not my sense of humor. It felt very jilted to me, like stop and go stop and go. Joke, story, little fact, joke, aside, etc. etc. I felt like she had flashcards and was reading from them for an hour and then in the last eight minutes had a cohesive thought. Before that there was no pacing or build for me, it was stop start stop start then an on-ramp to the highway out of nowhere. Also, a lot of the pieces building up to that I have heard many times before. Like the Madonna/Whore complex thing, I’ve heard that a lot so it wasn’t *personally* groundbreaking, I’m glad if someone heard it for the first time but I have many times.

Some things I did like: I DID like how she said her sensitivity is a strength, and “why is being insensitive the goal?” something like that. It was funny to me how much she didn’t like Picasso and when she was talking about Cubism and how much we all need it and how we all write about it in our gratitude journals. It was funny the first time she said it but then she KEPT saying it, like going way too long on the same punchline/joke. That happened a lot. I truly loved the end like I said. I also liked the line, that lesbians just used to be women who didn’t laugh at men’s jokes. That is a very funny (& true!) observation. I liked her outfit a lot, I don’t know if that counts but I did. Navy blue on navy blue is a bold choice and I respected that. She did have a lot of good lines, it just felt like they were wasted, thrown into this abyss of other talking that didn’t build on them at all and wasn’t connected to itself. Yes, it was all connected in the most general sense that it was her life and ideas but in terms of thematic and articulated thought, it was pretty touch and go.

She did this at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest and I honestly see it fitting that better, and I know she’s performing it in New York as like a one woman show and I think that’s good (I still think it needs some editing) but for a comedy special? For someone who understands how labeling & contextualizing art (Post-Impressionist, Cubist, Modernism) is important to critical reception, this seems an oversight/mistake. It’s a powerpoint presentation with jokes in it but not a stand up special. TO ME, I can already feel people (women) hating this, and I hope no men are taking this as validation if they were uncomfortable that they’re right and just to dismiss it, because don’t do that, that would be a mistake.

I did learn from it and I guess I’m glad I watched it but I’m allowed to not like something and still think it has value or can teach something. There’s a lot in there that was/is good for people to hear, myself included, and I hope they did/do hear it. But that doesn’t make it funny or good comedy. Also I already saw a meme being shared that was her being like, “I don’t identify as a man or a woman, I identify as tired” which, isn’t that a street joke by now? I feel like I’ve heard that a million times already and I don’t like it. It feels like the gender version of those kitchen signs white women have about it being wine o’clock.

Also, I am a straight white woman, I did not grow up with a marginalized identity, certainly not one that was illegal where I lived til only like 21 years ago, that feels like it bears saying. I also haven’t been doing stand up 10 years (halfway there though!). But I DO consider myself an expert at Netflix. Also having opinions, I’m very good at that.

Look, if you loved this, I’m not trying to take anything from you. If you didn’t love it because you didn’t like the things it made you think and feel, maybe examine that and I hope you don’t take this review as permission not to do so. But if you respect what she’s trying to do/did but it just didn’t tickle your funny bone the way Comedy is supposed to, then this review is for you. Also, I get it about Picasso and I HATE when people rape other people (it’s the worst!) but it seems insane to me that she didn’t at least mention Guernica ONCE to just be like, “he is a monster but he did this one good thing.” Am I Joe Rogan now?

2 out of 5 medicated sunflowers, would not masturbate again.

 

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