Hannah Gadsby is one of the better stand-ups on the Australian scene at the moment, but her recent programme for the ABC’s Artscape strand, Hannah Gadsby Goes Domestic, seemed a bit like a first draft.
The programme was based around the art exhibition In The Kitchen Sink, a group show held recently at MARS in which artists examined the role of domesticity in the suburbs. It’s an interesting topic and ideal fodder for a comedian – Barry Humphries sure got a lot of material out of it – but the programme seemed to focus more on Gadsby’s not-that-interesting interviews with the artists than her take on the topic.
As such, Hannah Gadsby Goes Domestic was an uneven programme which didn’t know whether it was a quirky report for Stateline, a serious arts documentary, or a comedian-presented exploration of a topic.
Hannah Gadsby’s funny, presumably knows a certain amount about art (having led comedy tours of the National Gallery of Victoria), and seems as qualified to talk about the domestic environment as any average Australian, so it’s a shame that her vignettes between the artist interviews felt tacked-on, or like the best bits of a more elaborate series of links or sketches which didn’t quite work out and had to either be heavily edited or dumped.
A better approach to a show starring Hannah Gadsby – one which could work for quite a few stand-ups – would be to semi-dramatise one of her shows, along the lines of the BBC show Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. Or to make a proper, well researched documentary presented by her. This attempt at combing the two was a bit half-baked.