In 2017, at the height of the Me Too movement, Hannah Gadsby changed comedy as we know it with her groundbreaking show, Nanette. As a woman, as a lesbian, as a gender-nonconforming person, as a neuro-atypical person, as a victim of trauma, Gadsby mapped out a way forward for comedy that didn't make herself, and people like her, the butt of the joke. Part memoir, part "making of," this book gets at the heart of her journey to self-acceptance and fame. If you laugh-sobbed your way through Nanette like I did (and then went back to the beginning and did it again, and again, and again) then read this book to find out just how she did it and why.— From Rachel's Picks
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Multi-award-winning Hannah Gadsby broke comedy with her show Nanette when she declared that she was quitting stand-up. Now she takes us through the defining moments in her life that led to the creation of Nanette and her powerful decision to tell the truth—no matter the cost.
“Hannah is a Promethean force, a revolutionary talent. This hilarious, touching, and sometimes tragic book is all about where her fires were lit.”—Emma Thompson
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar, Vulture
“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself,” Hannah Gadsby declared in her show Nanette, a scorching critique of the way society conducts public debates about marginalized communities. When it premiered on Netflix, it left audiences captivated by her blistering honesty and her singular ability to take them from rolling laughter to devastated silence. Ten Steps to Nanette continues Gadsby’s tradition of confounding expectations and norms, properly introducing us to one of the most explosive, formative voices of our time.
Gadsby grew up as the youngest of five children in an isolated town in Tasmania, where homosexuality was illegal until 1997. She perceived her childhood as safe and “normal,” but as she gained an awareness of her burgeoning queerness, the outside world began to undermine the “vulnerably thin veneer” of her existence. After moving to mainland Australia and receiving a degree in art history, Gadsby found herself adrift, working itinerant jobs and enduring years of isolation punctuated by homophobic and sexual violence. At age twenty-seven, without a home or the ability to imagine her own future, she was urged by a friend to enter a stand-up competition. She won, and so began her career in comedy.
Gadsby became well known for her self-deprecating, autobiographical humor that made her the butt of her own jokes. But in 2015, as Australia debated the legality of same-sex marriage, Gadsby started to question this mode of storytelling, beginning work on a show that would become “the most-talked-about, written-about, shared-about comedy act in years” (The New York Times).
Harrowing and hilarious, Ten Steps to Nanette traces Gadsby’s growth as a queer person, to her ever-evolving relationship with comedy, and her struggle with late-in-life diagnoses of autism and ADHD, finally arriving at the backbone of Nanette: the renouncement of self-deprecation, the rejection of misogyny, and the moral significance of truth-telling.
About the Author
Hannah Gadsby stopped stand-up comedy in its tracks with her multi-award-winning show Nanette, which played to sold-out houses in Australia, the UK, and New York. Its launch on Netflix, and subsequent Emmy and Peabody wins, took Nanette (and Hannah) to the world. Hannah’s difficult second album (which was also her eleventh solo show) was named Douglas, after her dog. Hannah walked Douglas around the world, selling out and scoring another Emmy nomination. Before all of this, Hannah appeared as a character called Hannah in Please Like Me (Hulu) and toured her native Australia and the UK as a stand-up comedian. She made art documentaries and did plenty of other things over the course of more than a decade in comedy, but that will do for now.
“For fans of Gadsby, her delivery on the page will delight just as it does on screen. She remains honest, with stories that draw laughter over situations that are always based in truth—harsh or otherwise.”—Time
“A joyful read . . . Gadsby’s voice is intimate and close, and spending time with it is a lot like listening to a good friend relay a fascinating life story over a couple of pints at the bar.”—Oprah Daily
“Similar to her groundbreaking comedy specials Douglas and Nanette, Gadsby’s memoir reads like a conversation with a longtime friend. . . . A can’t-miss memoir that will make readers laugh, cry, and everything in between.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“In this stunning debut, Emmy Award–winning comedian Gadsby guides readers on a tour of her life that’s every bit as intimate, gutting, and untidy as the performance referenced in the title. . . .This stirring tale of resilience laughs in the face of the ‘inspiration porn’ industry.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Consistently self-effacing and contemplative, Gadsby acknowledges that her unique brand of deadpan observational comedy isn’t for everyone, especially since it often skewers ‘the two most overly sensitive demographics the world has ever known: straight white cis men and self-righteous comedians’. . . A witty and provocatively written life story.”—Kirkus Reviews