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Home » Hannah Gadsby: Three Ideas. Three Contradictions. Or Not. (Transcript)

Hannah Gadsby: Three Ideas. Three Contradictions. Or Not. (Transcript)

Hannah Gadsby at TED Talks (1)

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s groundbreaking special “Nanette” broke comedy. In a talk about truth and purpose, she shares three ideas and three contradictions. Or not.


My name is Hannah. And that is a palindrome. That is a word you can spell the same forwards and backwards, if you can spell.

But the thing is — my entire family have palindromic names. It’s a bit of a tradition. We’ve got Mum, Dad, Nan, Pop. And my brother, Kayak.

There you go. That’s just a bit of a joke, there. I like to kick things off with a joke because I’m a comedian.

Now there’s two things you know about me already: my name’s Hannah and I’m a comedian. I’m wasting no time.

Here’s a third thing you can know about me: I don’t think I’m qualified to speak my own mind. Bold way to begin a talk, yes, but it’s true.

I’ve always had a great deal of difficulty turning my thinking into the talking. So it seems a bit of a contradiction, then, that someone like me, who is so bad at the chat, could be something like a stand-up comedian.

But there you go. There you go. It’s what it is. I first tried my hand at stand-up comedi — comedie … See? See? See?

I first tried my hand at stand-up comedy in my late 20s, and despite being a pathologically shy virtual mute with low self-esteem who’d never held a microphone before, I knew as soon as I walked and stood in front of the audience, I knew, before I’d even landed my first joke, I knew that I really liked stand-up, and stand-up really liked me.

But for the life of me, I couldn’t work out why. Why is it I could be so good at doing something I was so bad at? I just couldn’t work it out, I could not understand it. That is, until I could.

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