I find it hard to believe that the clumsiest thing she did as a newly famous person was being a tiny bit rude to Jodie Foster, but I’m impressed at Gadsby’s restraint in keeping those other gaucheries to herself. Vox Media, LLC Terms and Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. For one thing, it’s now joined in matrimony. Wade situation or war. After far rawer, more vulnerable monologues made her famous, Gadsby isn’t handing us the sorts of revelations that we can pack up and cart off anymore. Body of Work is a pleasure — a comparably conventional stand-up set about family and relationships. Email

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Terms of Service apply. If you take one thing away from this show — and all apologies to Richard Curtis — that should be it. You never know. Make it a bit. Always clever at creating structure out of seemingly casual chat, Gadsby writes her monologues to herringbone together by the end. Usefully! Perimenopause! Whatever she may have said in Nanette about comedy as mendacity, this show becomes a lesson in (if not a lecture on) how comedy is actually a healing force. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for BAM

“If you take one thing away from this show,” Hannah Gadsby tells an adoring crowd at BAM, “it’s this: Prepare for fame.” If you don’t, she cautions, you’re going to get galactically famous for, say, a stand-up special, wind up sitting next to Richard Curtis, then accidentally tell the writer of Notting Hill that romantic comedy grosses you out. “Feel-good show!” she shouts every time the world starts to tempt her into turning dark. When she entered, Gadsby seemed as flustered by the delay as we were, her crest of hair raked sideways. Your knees decay? Body of Work is less about the world than the comedy-questioning Nanette; it’s as interior and self-focused as Douglas but lighter by about a thousand pounds. She sits on a stool or wanders the stage — the rigid plastic cast flourished in front of her like a tap dancer’s cane. Related

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Tags: What did they do during the long shutdown in Australia? Paradoxically, the ruin of her leg has made Gadsby a better physical comedian. That’s probably the real lesson she learned about success: Give ’em a little less. She shows us her body, the work, and how they inform each other. To keep the world from overwhelming her, a whole support structure keeps Gadsby on her path. On May 11, the first night of the run, the show started nearly an hour late as the audience bottlenecked at the venue’s doors, where they put our phones in secure Yondr pouches, searched our bags, and waved metal detectors at us. We hear about the romance with Jenno, but there’s also a sweeter, implied one with herself. She gets tarter and more biting on this topic than she does elsewhere, and it’s nice to see her sawtooth blade briefly revealed at last. Her autism, in particular, provides her with joke after joke, and her own laughter turns inward and delighted. It’s all material. Anyway, I shouldn’t have mentioned it. She married her producer Jenney Shamash in 2021, and, while Gadsby pokes a bit of fun at hetero-romantic nonsense, she is as eager to say “we” as anybody else. It’s light fare! (The Gadsby of Douglas would not have.) Refreshed by love, she seems resilient at her core here — free to tell us a bit about her spongy knees as well as her autism diagnosis and being in perimenopause. Jenno, in her many roles, winds up doing a lot of that, and Gadsby does an excellent physical bit about curling — portraying herself as a stately puck ushered down a frozen racetrack as Jenno frantically sweeps the ice in front of her. On a scale of one to catastrophe, telling a moviemaker that you hate rom-coms is pretty minor. How did Jenno interact with Gadsby’s family? You won’t walk out knowing more about the tricky mechanisms of comedy or her own history of assault (as you did from Nanette) or with a pile of raw revelations and too-frank heartbreak (as you did from Douglas). She’s only doing four nights in New York on the world tour this time, and the pressure of so many people in so short a time makes the palatial Brooklyn Academy of Music creak. Just the mention of it and “your doctors lose their diagnostic skeletal system,” she says, flopping bonelessly side to side on a stool. But it’s been haunting Gadsby, so she lets us know — Helpfully! Full of self-deprecating laughs and gruesome stories about rabbits. This is the stuff of, frankly, rom-coms. If you’ve seen other Gadsby pieces, you know she’s drawn to talking about breakups — the moments when a relationship turns, finally, into a story. In the rest of the show, she stops herself from getting into bleak stuff like the Roe v. It’s telling how much less Gadsby there is to go around this time. That’s not the Body that she’d hoped for when she started the tour, but Gadsby’s body is very much the topic of this show. So what about that fame thing? And while Gadsby still seems preternaturally attuned to her audience — one murmur of laughter in the back of the auditorium and she pivots toward it — she seems to mainly be listening to herself. When she says this might be the “one thing” we can take away, she means it. Both Nanette and Douglas had long Off Broadway engagements — sit-downs that culminated in triumphant Netflix specials. Being in the blissful beginning of her life with Shamash (whom she calls Jenno) means Gadsby must find that storytelling shape in either old breakups or a clever bit of misdirection. Hannah Gadsby at BAM. The Critics Newsletter
Sign up to get New York’s week in reviews. At the top of the show, she swears that they don’t have a good proposal story. She’s easier about discussing her autism than she has been before, clear and unbothered about the way that fame and her relationship have made certain things easier. But she was wearing a huge medical boot, having slipped on some ice and done immense mischief to her leg — screws, trauma band, and all. Your leg shatters? Helen Shaw has written about theater in New York since 2005, and for New York since 2019. Reviews from earlier stops include her bitter invective about, for instance, Netflix and Dave Chappelle, but all that has been scrubbed away here. Fame and etiquette aren’t the main subjects of Gadsby’s latest stand-up tour, Body of Work, but you still feel the calculation in it — the way that exposure has pushed and pulled the comedian into a more careful shape. — that we should map out our Richard Curtis thoughts now.