Hannah Gadsby Is A Wife Hunter

Hannah Gadsby is heading back to Perth for the Perth International Comedy Festival. Twelve months since we last chatted to the Tasmanian comedian she’s completed a second season as Adam Hills’ sidekick on In Gordon Street Tonight and performed her acclaimed new show at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Gadsby’s new show is titled Hannah Wants A Wife, surprisingly, if Gadsby is to believed, attracting dates is still difficult, even when you’re an national television star.

‘It wasn’t as promising as I thought’, laughs Gadsby as she chats on the phone to OUTinPerth while walking down a quiet Melbourne street, revealing that they show’s blatant title was not helping her dating life, ‘I don’t know, there must be something missing.’

‘I don’t enjoy the experience of falling in love, that’s a drain. It’s rather much harder than the press make out’, she say’s ‘I’m much more a fan of that “settling in” stage.’

Asked if she likes to pursue potential wives or prefers to be seduced, Gadsby chortles, ‘No, I don’t even like to be chased, I find it all very awkward and unnatural.’

Gadsby does find it amusing though that we ask her if she’s ready to take on a solo TV show after an elderly  viewer of In Gordon Street Tonight stopped her in the street and told her she should have more air time, oblivious to host Adam Hills standing next to her.

‘I’m not in a hurry, it’ll be setting myself up for failure’, she says, noting that she likes her current role –  describing it as being like a backup dancer. She does acknowledge though that she has been playing a bigger role on the program often sitting in on the celebrity interviews, ‘I’m creeping over slowly, it’s just a matter of time before I take over, I’ll be the Julia Gillard of talk shows.’

Asked what was the highlight of the recent season of In Gordon Street Tonight Gadsby ponders before replying, ‘The Bindi Irwin, Henry Rawlins and Simon Anstell episode stands out, just because it’s such an incongruous mix.’

Each week on the show Gadsby is sent off to help a viewer achieve one of their dreams, these outings have included trips to Bingo and a return trip to her home town.

‘It was an odd thing to go back to my home town. That was a bit traumatic. My folks live in Launceston now so I never have to go back to Smithton.’

Gadsy’s confident that while she may now be one of the most recognisable lesbians in Australia, she is not yet one of the most famous Tasmanians, citing David Boon and Princess Mary as the ones to beat in the profile stakes.

Gadsby is well known enough though to have become the punch line in another comedian’s joke, queer Canadian comedian DeAnne Smith recently joked that she was the inside of a Hannah Gadsby Babushka Doll. Gasby takes it in her stride though, ‘I always say if you want to know what I’d look like if you popped me in the dryer, please welcome to the stage DeAnne Smith.’

Regularly touring the comedy festivals has given Gadsby a chance to see some of the other latest comedy shows. Asked who’s hot at the moment Gadsby doesn’t miss a beat, saying, ‘They tend to clash a bit, but I try to keep an eye on things. DeAnne Smith’s show’s horrible, but Michael Workman, he’s a Perth boy, he’s amazing, and Wil Anderson had a great show this year.

‘When I first started doing comedy I was quite old, twenty eight. So when I look at younger comedians I think, why didn’t I start earlier? I’m also aware of how much of a dickhead you can be when you’re younger.’

Hannah Gadsby’s show Hannah Wants a Wife is on at the Jack High Comedy Club as part of the Perth International Comedy Festival from May 9-12. 

Graeme Watson

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