Culture

This Is How Hannah Gadsby Shut Down A Heckler During A Performance Of ‘Nanette’

This is how you deal with a troll.

It’s hard to believe someone would be shitty enough to heckle Hannah Gadsby during a live performance of Nanette. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of dickheads out there. But the Tasmanian comedian is more than equipped to deal with the trolls, as a recent story by a Canberra woman makes clear.

As the whole world falls in love with Gadsby’s brilliant, devastating stand-up routine following its recent release on Netflix, Twitter user Samara McCann shared an anecdote about seeing the comedian perform Nanette early last year when a male audience member (because of course it was a dude) decided to insert himself into the show.

“During one particularly harrowing moment, Hannah was describing a moment of violence that was all too familiar to women, particularly those in the LGBTIQ community,” McCann wrote. “The room was silent. Then, a lone male voice from the back of the room shouted ‘Where’s the bloody jokes?'”

According to McCann, the audience, which included a large contingent of women from a Canberra queer women’s group, immediately shouted down the heckler.

“Everyone is yelling,” she recalled. “One amazing woman who looked like she could snap me like a twig jumps up from her seat in front of us and was looking back into the crowd as if she was personally going to go find the guy. All the frustration and repressed anger of the night unleashed at once.”

“Through all this Hannah is standing on the stage, mic in hand, waiting out the crowd’s anger,” McCann continued. “Here’s this woman who is telling the most viscerally sad and confronting story I’d ever heard on stage and this one guy thought he was entitled enough to interject. I’d be furious.”

“She wasn’t. When she eventually speaks it’s to direct the ushers to remove him. ‘I don’t want you here,’ she says, calmly. ‘I’ll donate the money from your ticket to a charity that helps victims of domestic violence. Get out, mate.’ Then she went straight back into her set.”

Gadsby actually addressed the issue of hecklers, and the impact they had on the development of Nanette, during a recent interview with The New Yorker.

“I was getting really horrific heckles [during early performances],” Gadsby explained. “Now there’s no room, because it’s really tight now. But when I was first doing it, there was a lot of room … And it was always guys, and always after I’d just told my audience that I’d been sexually assaulted. Always at that point.”

“I learnt from that, but it was really devastating, because when I do that I am genuinely vulnerable, and it is violent. It felt like violence to get heckled at those moments.”

Nanette is available to stream on Netflix now. You should really do yourself a favour and watch it.