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Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix Special ‘Gender Agenda’ Sets Lineup of Genderqueer Comedians: Jes Tom, Alok and More (EXCLUSIVE)

When Hannah Gadsby entered a deal at Netflix in 2022 with the goal of broadening “a notoriously transphobic industry,” they set plans for a multi-comic special featuring genderqueer comics from around the globe. Now titled “Gender Agenda,” that project will debut on March 5 with a lineup of seven performers.

With Gadsby as curator and host, “Gender Agenda” will give the stage to Jes Tom, Alok, Asha Ward, Chloe Petts, DeAnne Smith, Krishna Istha and Mx. Dahlia Belle.

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Tom has written for Max’s “Our Flag Means Death” and recently wrapped the off-Broadway run of “Less Lonely,” their one-person show presented by Elliot Page. Alok headlined the NYC Comedy Festival in 2021, and has appeared in unscripted series such as Hulu’s “Planet Sex” with Cara Delevigne and Netflix’s “Getting Curious” with Jonathan Van Ness. Ward is best known for being the youngest-ever writer for “Saturday Night Live.” Petts is currently touring her standup show “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice.” Smith previously starred in Netflix’s “Comedians of the World” and in 2008 won the Sydney Comedy Festival’s Time best newcomer award. Istha was a writer for Season 4 of “Sex Education” and is currently working on a trilogy of performance pieces about trans motherhood. Belle is the founder of the Portland Queer Comedy Festival and gained wide attention for writing an open letter to Dave Chappelle in the Guardian in 2021.

“The last time Netflix brought this many trans people together, it was for a protest. So, progress!” Gadsby jabs in the trailer.

Gadsby has been vocally critical of Netflix in the past for platforming transphobic jokes from Chappelle, but spoke to Variety about why they continue to collaborate with the streamer: “If you want to change the conversation, you still have to be a part of the conversation. So that was really what informed me to keep trying with this relationship.”

“Gender Agenda” was taped at the Alexandra Palace Theatre in London and directed by Julian Smith. Gadsby executive produces alongside Kevin Whyte, Jenney Shamash and Kathleen McCarthy as well as Andy Rowe and Graham Stuart for ITV’s So Television.

“There is such a wealth of brilliant genderqueer comics out there, but such a dearth of representation on the major streaming services. Meanwhile jokes about trans people are becoming more and more lucrative, so it seems only right that at least some of those jokes be told by actual trans people themselves,” Gadsby said in a statement to Variety. “So, I am beyond thrilled to bring this lineup together, showcasing seven extraordinarily talented comics and to use my platform (and Netflix’s…) to hopefully help catapult them into the spotlight that they deserve. They (and I mean ‘they’ in every sense of the word) are some of the funniest, smartest genderqueer comedians from around the globe, and it was an utter delight and true honor to share the stage with them.”

See the trailer for “Gender Agenda” below.

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