Entertainment Monica Lewinsky and Hannah Gadsby’s Unlikely Double Act Published 2 months ago on October 10, 2018 By Liz Orhent Share Tweet Gadsby and Lewinsky at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit. Photograph by Chris George. “I was shamed by a world that didn’t see me. . . . Your shame was public property,” comedian Hannah Gadsby told Monica Lewinsky during a captivating conversation at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Tuesday. Gadsby grew up in a small town on the island of Tasmania, and burst into American consciousness with a huge clatter in June when her magnificent, self-deconstructing stand-up special Nanette dropped on Netflix, and then again when she slayed the crowd with her sly delivery at this year’s Emmy Awards. Lewinsky involuntarily became a household name 20 years ago, thanks to the attentions of President Bill Clinton and then independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Yet they have a surprising amount in common: both women have learned to live with shame, and then to turn it into fuel. In Nanette, Gadsby critiqued the culture that made a punch line of Lewinsky for so many years. “Perhaps if comedians had done their job properly and made fun of the man who abused his power, then perhaps we might have a middle-aged woman with an appropriate amount of experience in the White House—instead of, as we do, a man who openly admitted to sexually assaulting vulnerable young women because he could!” Gadsby said in her act, a clip of which Lewinsky played for the audience. Sitting onstage a few feet apart the comedian, Lewinsky admitted that when she saw Gadsby in Nanette, “I have never gone to a stand-up comedy show and bawled my eyes out. . . . And knowing my history, that was surprising,” Lewinsky quipped, proving that she can throw a punch line as well as take them. She said that in the wake of Nanette, she’s seen lots of people “referencing their regret” at having mocked her. Gadsby said talking about Lewinsky in her act “was a genuine attempt to extend an apology from an art form that profited off hurting you.” It connected to Gadsby’s critique of comedians who wring cheap laughs by punching down on others, or using traumatic experiences like rape as a shock tactic. “As soon as you make people tense, it’s easy to make people laugh,” Gadsby said, adding that laughter at rape jokes skitters over “unacknowledged damage it causes in our communities. . . . I happen to believe that just because an audience laughs doesn’t mean it’s funny.” In Nanette she told a story of a physical assault in two separate ways: as a self-deprecating joke, and as a horrifying trauma. “I was raised to believe that I was less than the person who beat me up,” she told Lewinsky. “[He and I] were both infected by the same story. We were both damaged by that. He was let down as well. He was taught that his hate was justified.” Gadsby said it was important to her to create a story for her act that could hold her trauma. “When the world you live in shares your pain, you feel safe,” she said. Her new approach represents her determination to create a more humane kind of stand-up comedy, one that makes invisible people feel seen and finds new ways to talk about experiences beyond the cheap laughs. In a lighter moment in the conversation, Lewinsky asked Gadsby if she would be willing to host S.N.L., as a way of doing more light comedic work. “It’s not a real question, because I won’t be asked,” Gadsby responded quickly. “They’re not fans of my work. . . . Plus, I’m too slow for network television. It’s O.K., we’ll cope.” (Maybe she was referring to this?) At one point in the conversation, Lewinsky coined the phrase “Hannah Hangover”: “For at least a week after I saw your show, I would find myself zoning out, reliving this moment of transformation you created onstage.” Get Vanity Fair’s HWD Newsletter Sign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood. Credit:Vanity Fair Share this:Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window) Related Related Topics:HollywoodHollywood / Television Up Next Jennifer Lopez Is A Total Smokeshow In A Hot Pink Dress At 2018 American Music Awards Don't Miss Alanis Morissette on Jagged Little Pill Being More Relevant Than Ever in #MeToo Era Continue Reading You may like Riverdale’s Midseason Finale Was a Hot, Glorious Mess Olivia de Havilland Wants to Take Her Feud Case to Supreme Court After Kevin Hart Departure, the Academy May Hold a Host-Less Oscars Follow Us On Flipboard Magazine. Latest U.S. Politics21 mins ago Meghan Markle vowed to live ‘less stifled’ life before dating Prince Harry Not long before she met Prince Harry, Meghan Markle vowed to live a “life less stifled” and to “take a... Sports31 mins ago Former Juve sporting director Marotta takes over at Inter Milan Giuseppe Marotta arrives to attend the draw for UEFA Champions League at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Giuseppe Marotta has... Business51 mins ago Data Sheet—These Bleak Times for Global Tech Companies Jobs for everyone. After a grueling public process involving bids from over 200 cities…oh, wait, no. Apple skipped all that... World1 hour ago Ian Naude: Cheshire PC jailed for raping 13-year-old girl Image copyright Cheshire Police Image caption Ian Naude was being investigated for sex offences when he became a student officer... Local2 hours ago Michael Spavor: The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un Image copyright Reuters Image caption Michael Spavor, pictured here with students at a North Korean school, has close ties to... Most Read Tech1 week ago YouTube top earners: The seven-year-old making $22m Sports7 days ago Maurizio Sarri is steering Chelsea away from top four for second year running unless these changes are made, says Adrian Durham Sports7 days ago Who are the two best central defenders in the world?