So what comes first, the comic or the depression? In Hannah Gadsby’s case, by the way she tells it in her new show Happiness is a Beside Table, it’s depression.
Gadsby’s latest is about the lowest point in her life and, well, it’s hysterical. It may sound cruel to laugh at someone’s despair, but as Gadsby herself says, she’s made a living out of being “bigly”, poking fun at her body shape. In some ways she takes this to new heights in Happiness is a Bedside Table.
The key to happiness is low expectations, says Gadsby, and she shows us the bedside table that’s brought her so much joy because she’s never actually owned one before and now has somewhere to put her glasses and anti-depressants at night. Owning furniture has made her feel all grown up, and so she reflects on all those times when she didn’t have things quite so well in order.
Gadsby is a master storyteller adept at weaving stories together with one clever tie-in joke. She’s the thinking woman’s comedian and her audiences love her for it. I haven’t seen a show of hers where there isn’t at least one hardcore feminist, political joke. She nearly always apologises for it, but still, it’s there and usually fabulous.
If you see nothing else at this year’s festival, see Happiness is a Bedside Table. The bit about Gadsby’s trip to Magic Mountain at age 15 had me crying with laughter. And the classic Gadsby big finish (that is never, ever big) will surprise you. I cannot imagine a woman alive that won’t fall a bit in love with Gadsby at the end of this show. She already has quite the following, but after this show I suggest you get on the Gadsby train quick smart before there are no seats left at all. My guess is she’s just cemented herself as one of Australia’s favourite comics.
Token Events present
Happiness is a Bedside Table
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Supper Room | Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 28 Mar – 21 Apr, 2013
Tickets: $24 – $35
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival