Hannah Gadsby just inked a massive deal with Netflix, the streaming service the Emmy award-winning “Nanette” and “Douglas” comic once referred to as an “amoral algorithm cult.” Gadsby, a queer comedian who famously identifies “as tired,” is returning to Netflix with a multiple-title deal including a third stand-up special and a multiple-comic special that will showcase gender-diverse comedians. The news comes roughly a year after Gadsby publicly called out Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos for defending Dave Chappelle’s ridiculously transphobic special, “The Closer,” and for weaponizing the accessibility of their specials on the platform as proof that the company wasn’t transphobic. Gadsby took to Instagram with a scathing critique, as Sarandos unintentionally directed a ton of bigoted transphobes to Gadsby’s social media with his words.
“Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial worldview. You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real-world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. F*** you and your amoral algorithm cult.”
Gadsby’s newest stand-up set, “Body of Work” has been making the rounds this year while they’ve been on tour, with the Netflix special recording taking place at the Sydney Opera House. The set has been described as “deeply personal,” which is saying something considering how vulnerable Gadsby presented themselves in their previous two specials.
Enacting Change From The Inside Out
“In an effort to further open a door that I had to fight to get through myself, I will curate and host a line-up show on Netflix featuring six new, gender-diverse comedians,” said Gadsby In the official Netflix announcement for the deal. “In a notoriously transphobic industry, I am looking to broaden the scope of opportunities for genderqueer performers from around the globe, as well as expand the diversity of offerings to audiences on one of comedy’s biggest platforms.” The special is paired with a mentorship initiative to help boost the skills and visibility of comedians from marginalized gender identities, with the sets due to be recorded sometime in 2023. “This will be a chance for the world to hear these voices for the first, but definitely not the last, time,” they said.
Netflix is, regardless of its questionable ethics, still the biggest streaming platform in existence. Gadsby was right to call out the corporation for their excusal of Chappelle’s blatant transphobia and was doubly right when noting the company does not pay them enough to deal with the fallout of those actions. There are definitely those that see returning to the streamer as hypocritical, but it’s clear this is Gadsby’s way of making the company pay for putting them in such an unfair position in 2020.
Quite honestly? GOOD FOR THEM. Insult the company to their face, take home a fat check, amplify yourself, and get the chance to amplify even more marginalized comedians? That’s not hypocrisy, that’s breaking the game from the inside out.
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