Hannah Gadsby, Netflix, Douglas discussed on Fresh Air
It's a story of principles compromised war-crimes overlooked available now on apple podcasts and all other platforms. My guest is comic Hannah Gadsby and although she vowed to give up comedy in her previous Netflix special in the net. Fortunately she's back with new comedy special. Which is called Douglas? And her first comedy. Special Ninette was in part about growing up in Tasmania. We've she describes as the Bible Belt of Australia and she was growing up gay in not only area where other people who were gay were out so she had no one to talk to about that. But also it was a legal to be homosexual until nineteen ninety-seven. You said that you came from a really large loud family. And I'm thinking while you're like so sensitive to loud noise it must have been hard. Yeah but I used to. I used to spend a Lotta time under the hedge. The beauty of being in a large family for someone on the spectrum though is the sense of place a sense of belonging and a sense of community is is automatic so in many ways I was in it advantage because I never have to head fully formed relationship structures. I had more difficulty once I went out in the world. But you know in a family. You have these things and so the yeah there. Was you know noise and chaos? But there's also you know when you have a large family this routine by necessity and structure by necessity to wrangle so many kids and we're in a small town so there wasn't much flux now existence and so there was a lot of advantages to it and was a time when a kid could just leave the house and be a bit feral just sort of you know spend time outside and talk to myself and you know so. I I was able to negotiate that you are homeless for a while what period of your life was. And why were you home? Once I finished my degree it was a three degree the twenty five years. I didn't know what to do. Then once I left the beats you supposed to hit you know. And then they're like okay. You're off into the world. I was unable to navigate that any sort of external structures and scaffolding. I like to say you know I struggled to fill in forms. Never been able to apply for a job in the traditional form I've always just picked up sort of casual entry level work. And you know the older you get the lists easy that he's you know when you pop resume into a place and the like. Wow so older done so little so I sort of began to drift really badly. You know I worked in a bookshop for a little while and then I was a cinema projectionist and then. I traveled up the north of Australia as work at a an outdoor cinema. Because I you know I had an actual skill that is no longer an actual skill but at the time and from there I found I couldn't actually hold down a job on able to you. Know earn enough money and also navigate just the basic administration of life. I look back on that time. I feel sad is like I didn't understand I. I genuinely needed help. I needed assistance. Do Tribute that to autism. Yeah And so became femme Labor. I lived in a Vino a tent. And then you know basically no fixed address for a couple of years we you sleeping on the street at all. No 'cause I was in the in the country so there's no need to be on the straight. I had a tent and you know and then I drift in and woke on farms and then but I had no safety net. I had no backup and I mean certainly slipped RAF but it was just not on a straight. I'm taking that really literally right that sleep on the streets and I'm like yes I guess but basically I just weren't a lot of streets is what you're saying. Yeah walked out and out a nice spot and pitch the tent and Y- yeah so you had no safety net. Did you have any safety? Not Pat no guess not no no capacity you know grabbed or attacked while you were homeless knots. I Guess Waugh's but not you know because someone broke into my tent. It's at one stage. I sort of drifted into this sort of communal living situation. That turned bad turned bad Yeah what happened? That's a whereas rate. Oh that's turning really bad. That wasn't great to. Did you leave that that community afterwards living situation? No I have no way to go well. That's so awful that you stay with. That's the reality of no choice isn't it? That is yeah. That's really awful. Did the other people know? It's always hard to say you know. People are really incredible at not acknowledging things to the point where they figured that they knew. Well I can kind of see the impulse here to stand on stage and say this happened. This happened like acknowledge it happened. What future did you see for yourself? Then when you're living in a tent and you had no steady job you didn't think you could hold one. I didn't see a future at all. And that's that's trauma. You're absolutely incapable of imagining a future incapable of understanding. What a dream is. But you know you you're obviously. You're like very smart and very perceptive and very articulate. Could you comprehend why somebody who has a smart as you were and as knowledgeable art history degree would feel like you had so little future in front of you so a few options so few opportunities the that that was very always very confusing to me? I didn't understand how I got it all so so wrong You know this is. This is part of the autism situation The until I was diagnosed I could never look back on that part of my life and and make complete sense of I still struggle. And that's a that is also an effective trauma. There's no straight line through trauma So how were you when you were diagnosed terrible at domestic situations thirty six thirty six? That's a long time not to understand what was going on. You know neurologically for you. Yeah Yeah it is. Let me reintroduce you here. If you're just joining us my guest is comic. Hannah Gadsby and her follow up to net has just been released on net flicks and it's called. Douglas. It's her second Netflix. Comedy special. The first won a peabody award and an emmy. We'll be right back. This is fresh air support for NPR and the following message. Come from Doug Doug Go. Do you want the same Internet but more privacy duck duck go can help? They helped millions of people. Like you get privacy online without any tradeoffs with one download. You can search and browse privately. Avoiding trackers duck duck. Go privacy simplified. Let's get back to my interview with Hannah Gadsby. She's a comic whose first comedy special on Netflix Net was described in the New York Times as the most talked about comedy act in years and she vowed to give up comedy in that special but now happily. She's back with new comedy special which is called Douglas and just started streaming on Netflix. So you're an art history major. I assume that means that you really love painting and you know art has a central place in both of your stand up specials in different ways In your you talked about how like the like the the gay pride flag is annoying to you because it's too just like too much color. What was it like for you as an art history major? Oh I love that history that gets it was such a such a perfect way from my brain to learn about the world and understand the world like I get there eventually with reading and comprehension. But I'm slow. I'm really really slow but thorough. We've with images. I seem to get so much. I seem to be able to process an image at a speed and a depth and nuance that account with language and so studying history was just really powerful. Way For me to begin to piece together the puzzle of the world. What made you think that you could Perform comedy funny. Did you think it's funny? I knew how to be funny. I knew how to tell a story. And the way I'd learnt tell a story was to really built the skill to evade the reality of my life and just told a funny story about a moment you know. So He's a funny thing that happens and then I have to tell people about the the actual reality of my life and essentially I entered a comedy competition and it was on a whim. That wasn't this sort of thing you know I've been hoping to do. I did a lot of things on women like off. Try this thing. I'll try that thing. And there's no reason to expect comedy was going to end any better worse than all the other failed attempts at my grasp but life and this is a national competition was held by the Mobin Comedy Festival Melbourne International Comedy Festival. And they run hates all around us. They go into regional towns. And you know. Hold as competitions Actually really wonderful program because it it doesn't dwell on just sort of the cities it could really does go into regional places and so then you know as soon as I I sort of told my I you know. Gio which isn't technically a joke. It was just a few words. I strong together. I think it was the combination of you know. Just me being this completely strange creature up on stage just really made people engage with me and I held the audience in my hand. I didn't know what to do them but I knew that I had them in my hand so it was clear from the very first time I stood on stage. You know I've never heard a microphone before never been a perform. I'd never even been to a comedy show but all of a sudden kind of knew what I was doing. What was it like when you first on stage and realized that you had the power to make people laugh or to make them think or feel moved by what you were saying that you could get the response that you wanted to get It felt like I was connected to the world for the first time. I'd always felt like I. There was a disconnect between May and the rest of the world like you know and this is kind of a common experience with people on the spectrum. You so to feel like an alien being dropped in from outer space and quite connect promptly And being on stage and and making a room full of people you know laugh. Fill fill like a a connection. I hadn't been able to establish in any other environment. So comedy was a great home for you. You could tell stories. You had an audience. You didn't have to have conversations with the audience but a better eventually. You had hecklers because every comic has hecklers. How did you deal with hecklers? I'm not very good at being thrown a like disruption to routine in the early days of Ninette did get really really terrible heckles on the rare occasion from for men who couldn't see it in their own discomfort. You know there were a few times when I would be heckled in very vulnerable moments of that show but that's what also made it so dangerous to perform because you know I make the audience sit in these incredibly painful moments but if people were to break of those moments it was a truly dangerous place for me and when that did happen you know. I didn't react well. I want to get back to how you find loud noise. Sudden noise upsetting. What about the sound of applause? What about the sound of thunderous applause and cheers at the end? Of One of your shows this something this is this you know depends on the Kucic of the room. I don't like performing in say a rock. Then you weather's. It's a shell of a room that they then put chairs in and those chairs can scrape and there's an echo tour applause..