Recently, we decided to watch Ellen DeGeneres’ stand-up special on Netflix. Titled Relatable, we were so inspired by our lesbian sisterhood to watch the Tig Notaro special Happy to be Here. After that, we looked at one another and used our sapphic bond to agree that of course we must re-watch the Hannah Gatsby special Nanette
Quick summary – Ellen was decidedly not relatable and seems a little angry that we think her fame, fortune, and even more fortune have changed her. She was funny enough, but in the way that you would expect George Clooney to be charming or Barack Obama to be intelligent – true to form, but not relatable at all because they moved in a completely different universe than us. Tig Notaro was absolutely hysterical and Hannah Gadsby is as good on viewing 7 as viewing 1.
Another bit you should know – Tig directed Ellen’s special, Hannah attributes Tig as her inspiration, etc. Of course, they are a triumverate of lesbian comedy covering 30+ years of modern history and impossible to imagine without the contributions of the other.
I do wonder about Ellen’s anger. Why does it bother her that we think she’s a different person at 60 than she was in her early days? Self-deprecation is part of her shtick, but it felt way too forced. Who could possibly need more validation than Ellen has received these many years?
Still, she has lots of solid lesbian jokes, drops the names that you want to hear, and eases back into her goofy, endearing self by the end of the show.
Tig Notaro was another beast altogether. I’ve watched her Netflix series, but never caught a performance. I thought she’d be too droll for me. I was wrong. Her energy level is low, but powerful as it draws the viewer in time and time again for the setup and punchline. Tig’s life felt relatable and she wasn’t even trying, nor did she seem overly concerned that I thought so.
Tig’s final bit is one of the best I’ve ever seen (or heard about.) It should go down into the text books of comedy genius. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but she taps into the lesbian sisterhood fandom over a period of about 10 minutes that defies belief.
After this double dose of dyke delight, we just had to rewatch Nanette and bask in the modern stylings of Hannah Gadsby. This was my seventh viewing and it didn’t fail to hit me in yet a new manner, one I blogged about the following day.
Gabsby is coming back this summer with a new special named for her dog. Of course.
If you need a dose of lesbian comedy or lesbian awesome (or both), bring up these three shows on Netflix and in late May, you can add the latest special from Wanda Sykes. I’ll be tuning in and probably queue all four up again in June for an injection of Pride.
In all seriousness, watching these shows back to back was an excellent idea – it was like being with our people, but on the couch. And with cats. It was the weekend after Laura had the flu, so she was tired but also bored and this was just the ticket to make her laugh, but allow us to pause when laughter turned to coughing. The bits and jokes were funny. They made us think about our own experiences. They range in age from 41 (Hannah), 48 (Tig), 55 (Wanda), and 61 (Ellen) which covers our generations; I’m 48 and Laura is 56.
Lesbians are still relevant and older lesbians and queer women have things to say that warrant Netflix specials and NYT profiles. Lesbian content still matters.
It was the comfortable lesbian potluck supper club that exists only in the imagination of Allison Bechdel and movies. And that’s just good enough.