Tuesday 7 August 2012 | By

Hannah Gadsby: Art, history, marriage and Mary

ED2012 Comedy ED2012 Interviews ED2012 Week1 Edition

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby came to the Fringe with two shows last year, and our reviewers were mightily impressed by both of them. This year she’s repeating the two-show Fringe experience, with one of her 2011 shows returning for a second run, and a second new show, ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’, also on the bill. Known for making shows that are both funny and informative, Hannah demonstrates both skills by answering some quick questions for ThreeWeeks.

CM: You are doing two shows at the Fringe this year, which you also did last year. Is it tiring?
HG: Edinburgh is tiring anyway. I once came here without a show and still felt like a car crash by the end of August.

CM: So what made you decide to return to Edinburgh this August?
HG: Money. I don’t like having it.

CM: Your new show is called ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’, which gives some clue to its contents. Would you like to elaborate?
HG: This show is generally about the role of wives historically. I use paintings to illustrate most of my points. There are quite a few pictures of breasts.

CM: What made you decide to focus on this theme?
HG: Gay marriage seems to be a point of contention in most first world countries. I just wanted to check in to see what all the fuss about marriage was in the first place.

CM: Your second show, ‘Mary Contrary’ – about artistic portrayals of the Virgin Mary over the centuries – is coming to the Fringe for a second time. Our reviewer was very taken with it last year. Is it exactly the same this year?
HG: In many ways it is the same show… just tweaked and improved.

CM: What made you want to cover that topic?
HG: I think art is a really neat way to look at the concerns of religion. I have never been a part of organised religion but I really love exploring it as part of the Western cultural identity. You cannot escape it.

CM: Is it a challenge to make something like art history funny?
HG: It is a challenge to make art and religion funny without also offending people who invest in these things. But I enjoy treading this fine line. and also straying on occasions.

CM: As someone who has studied it, would you recommend art history as a degree course?
HG: Not if you like money and/or invigorating company.

CM: Do you have a favourite from the two shows?
HG: I don’t really. Both provide relief from the other. I probably should do another show to relieve me from their burden.

CM: Do you have further plans for either show? Is a tour on the cards?
HG: It all depends on how well received I am in Edinburgh…

CM: You’ve had quite a few TV appearances in recent years. Would you like to do more television, or do you prefer the live medium?
HG: To be fair, I prefer live work because I enjoy instant gratification: at the end of a live show, an audience will clap. With TV all I can do is plug into Twitter and check to see just how many people wish to declare that I am fat and ugly. Good times.

CM: Have you any plans for Edinburgh other than performing? Any shows to see?
HG: There’s too many shows I need to see! Celia Paquola, Deborah Frances-White, Shirley and Shirley, Briefs, Camille and Eleanor Tiernan… that’ll make a good start!

Hannah Gadsby performed ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’ and ‘Mary. Contrary’ at Gilded Balloon Teviot at Fringe 2012. 

LINKS: www.hannahgadsby.com.au

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