Stand-up comic Hannah Gadsby cemented her status as one of the most important voices of the past year, if not the past decade, with her searing Netflix special Nanette in which she addressed sexual assault and eviscerated the societal compulsion to prop up male artists (like Pablo Picasso and Roman Polanski) regardless of their behavior. At the Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment breakfast Wednesday, Gadsby leaned into straight talk about misogyny and the patriarchy. But this time she went after so-called “good men” like the up to “12 Jimmys” that can be found on late-night television, and the audience appeared to not quite know how to respond.
The lesbian comic who hails from Tasmania took to the podium and kicked off her monologue saying she wanted to talk about the “good men,” which drew applause from the audience. But Gadsby warned them they may end up regretting clapping.
"I want to speak about the very big problem I have with the good men, especially the good men who take it upon themselves to talk about the bad men. I find good men talking about bad men incredibly irritating, and this is something the good men are doing a lot of at the moment," Gadbsy said to a room that was noticeably silent.
"Not this moment, not this minute, because the good men don't have to wake up early for their opportunity to monologue their hot take on misogyny,” Gadsby said, pointing to the fact that many of the “good men” who monologue about misogyny are in cushy late-night TV gigs where women have been essentially shut out.
"My problem is that according to the Jimmys there are only two types of bad men. There are the Weinstein/Bill Cosby types who are so utterly horrible that they might as well be different species to Jimmy. And then there are the FOJs — the friends of Jimmys,” Gadsby explained, touching on the “good man” instinct to sidestep, forgive, or excuse the behavior of bad men who don’t quite fall into the Weinstein category of predatory.
“These are apparently good men who misread the rules. Garden variety consent dyslexics. They have the rule book. But they just skimmed it. That a semicolon? My bad. I thought that meant anal," she expounded.
But Gadsby wasn’t done. The camera panned the room to many blank faces as she continued to call out the good guys, saying that the good guys “draw a line in the sand” between them and the Weinstein/Cosby types.
They draw “a line for the locker room, a line for when their wives, mothers, daughters. and sisters are watching, another line for when they're drunk and fratting,” she said.
Finally, Gadsby extrapolated the “good men” out and drove her point home.
"Take everything I have said up to this point and replace 'men' with 'white person,' and know that if you are a white woman you have no place drawing lines in the sand between good white people and bad white people," she said.
Finally, she asked the audience to replace “good men” with “straight, cis, able-bodied, and neurotypical.”