Hannah Gadsby Says Her Plan to Leave Comedy "Backfired" With 'Nanette'

Hannah Gadsby's stated intent to leave comedy after her special, Nanette, has gotten a little more complicated since one of her performances landed on Netflix.

Since the meta-special about the fundamentally traumatic nature of stand-up hit the streaming giant on June 19, Nanette has built up euphoric word of mouth, earned rave reviews (The Hollywood Reporter's own Daniel Fienberg wrote, "you won't see anything better on TV this month") and gave Gadsby herself prominent coverage in The New York Times and The New Yorker Radio Hour.

That came as a surprise to the Tasmanian comic, as she told Jimmy Fallon during an appearance on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night. "I wrote the show because I'd had enough ... It's a quitting show," she said. "I thought, 'I'll drop a bomb and leave. And I really thought it would divide audiences and it just hasn't.'"

Nanette covers Gadsby's approach to comedy over the course of her stand-up career, and the tragedy in her own life that she has mined for laughs. Gadsby argues over the course of the special that the mainstream structure for stand-up comedy prevents comics from recovering from traumatizing events by making them relive those moments night after night.

"When I wrote it, it wasn't supposed to go, 'Oh, I'll get a Netflix special out of this, everyone will see it.' It was like, 'Oh, I'll probably get 12 shows and be asked to leave.' And the plan's backfired," Gadsby told Fallon.

Gadsby has one more Nanette show to perform, at the Montreal Comedy Festival on Friday. On The Tonight Show, she noted that anyone interested in the special can now see it on Netflix.

"But we want you to do more stuff now. Now that we've seen this, we want more," Fallon said.

"I'll do something. I said I was quitting, and then, if I quit, I'm an idiot now," Gadsby responded. "Like, if the show had gone as badly as I'd planned, it would have worked. But now I'm left with a choice: I'll either be an idiot or a hypocrite. I'll be a hypocrite."