Hannah Gadsby stole the Emmys while ‘Drag Race’ became a winner

Hannah Gadsby stole the Emmys while ‘Drag Race’ became a winner

Hannah Gadsby, whose Netflix special Nanette hit Netflix became a global phenomenon this year, stole the show at an Emmys where RuPaul’s Drag Race won big.

Gadsby was invited to present the award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and used the opportunity to poke fun at the idea that her special is a sign of ‘the death of comedy’.

Gadsby may have been responding specifically to this year’s Emmys co-host, Michael Che, who earlier this year called out Nanette for its content while insisting that he had not, in fact, actually seen it.

Che, who was joined onstage by Saturday Night Live Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost, seemed particularly peeved that Gadsby’s special became a huge success while his own kind of did not.

Jost has faced similarly criticism in the past, with a history of being criticised for making lazy, transphobic jokes and generally being disdainful of women’s place in comedy.

Gadsby’s appearance was a typically droll middle finger to the routine criticism she has copped from male stand-up comedians, who seem to have forgotten the large chunks of stand-up comedy history which also involved male comedians talking about real issues.

“This is…not…normal,” Gadsby stated at the start of her appearance. In many of her recent Stateside talk show appearances, she has noted the improbability that a stand-up special about quitting comedy would propel her to her greatest success.

“The world’s gone a bit crazy. I mean, for somebody like me – a nobody from nowhere – gets this sweet gig, free suit, new boots, just because I don’t like men?” she said.

“That’s a joke, of course. Just jokes, fellas. Calm down!

“Hashtag-not-all-men…but a lot of ’em,” she joked.

“No, it is just jokes…but what are jokes these days? We don’t know.

“Nobody knows what jokes are, especially not men,” she laughed. “Am I right fellas?”

Gadsby paused. “That’s…why I’m presenting alone.”

After announcing that Stephen Daldry – who identifies as a gay man, though he has been platonically married to a woman since 2001 – won for directing The Crown, Gadsby joked that he hadn’t come to the ceremony to accept the award because she was the one presenting it.

Meanwhile, queer TV had a solid night at the awards, with RuPaul’s Drag Race finally taking home the award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program for the first time.

RuPaul was last week awarded Outstanding Reality TV Host for the third year in a row at the Creative Arts Emmys, while the show also won for its direction, costumes and hairstyling.

The night’s other big queer winner was The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the Ryan Murphy-produced transgressive, dark telling of the story of Andrew Cunanan, who murdered the fashion designer in 1997.

Star Darren Criss became the first Filipino-American actor to win an Emmy for his portrayal, while the show was also named Outstanding Limited Series.

Undersung actress Alex Borstein (if you haven’t watched HBO’s Getting On, you must) won for playing queer character Susie on Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, while last week Yance Ford – the first out trans director to be nominated for an Oscar – also won an Emmy for his Netflix documentary Strong Island.

Gadsby’s appearance had viewers on social media calling for her to host the show, though it’s hard to imagine Gadsby wanting that much of the spotlight.

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