Hannah Gadsby set for Stand show ahead of Fringe run
Tasmanian-born comic's new show Mary, Contrary
There’s not one single route, rhyme or reason for people to take their first plunge into stand-up comedy, but how many have grasped the mic because of a farmyard accident? That’s right, surely only Hannah Gadsby. ‘I was planting trees in a drought-stricken area and the ground was very tough,’ recalls the Tasmanian-born comic. ‘A piece of machinery I was using backfired and tore my wrist up so I had to have all the bones fused and ligaments repaired. There were lots of plates and screws and bone grafts there. Not to have a functioning right hand was tough and it was all floppy, painfully floppy too; it wasn’t even a rubber party-trick hand. It took about a full year and three lots of surgery for it to heal properly.’
Allowing that trauma to ponder just what life was all about, Gadsby decided she’d enter a comedy competition which, lo and behold, she won. A second place in the 2006 So You Think You’re Funny Award and a Barry Nomination for this year’s show, Mrs Chuckles (which she’s bringing to the Fringe in August alongside a comedic analysis of the Virgin Mary as represented in art, entitled Mary, Contrary) has kept her competitive edge burning.
And as a helpful contributor to her Wiki page has pointed out, it can all be put down to her dysfunctional parents. ‘If they ever read that, they’d be a bit upset,’ counters Gadsby. ‘In the scheme of things, they’re raised five functioning kids. Well, four functioning kids and me. So they’re no more dysfunctional than the next person, but as soon as you look beneath the surface of any person, they look dysfunctional. As I become a fully functioning adult, I can see the method in their madness. But don’t get me wrong, they’re still idiots.’
The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 5 Jul; The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 6–Sat 9 Jul