CREDIT: Ali Goldstein/Netflix

One thing I need to get out of the way right off the bat: whenever I read the title of Hannah Gadsby’s latest stand-up special or hear her mention it during the show, I automatically respond, “Very expensive.” You see, only 90s kids will understand. On the classic Nickelodeon cartoon Doug, whenever the title character’s neighbor Mr. Dink showed off his latest gizmos and gadgets, he would tell Doug (whom he always called “Douglas”) that it was “very expensive.” So ever since then, as far as I’m concerned, any utterance of “Douglas” in any context requires the punctuating response “very expensive.”

Anyway, on to the show! Ms. Gadsby is considerate enough to begin her routine by providing us with an overview of what we can expect. There will be some jokes, a bit of a lecture, some “hate baiting,” and a warning about a zinger directed at a particular comedian that we’ll probably forget about by the time she gets to it. After the hubbub over her last special Nanette (Was it even stand-up? Was it a one-woman show? WhatWhatWhatWhatWhat?!), she’s in the mood to spell out exactly what she’s doing. Also, as someone on the autism spectrum, she appreciates it when things are laid out in stark, definitive terms. And you know what? I like that, too. Far from robbing her routine of humor, it sets up a framework to pick apart and subvert expectations. And picking apart and subverting is how the laughter happens.

The section that I appreciated the most was the series of quick hits of art criticism of various paintings (mostly from the Renaissance era, as far as I can tell). Hannah has a B.A. in Art History and Curatorship, so she knows what she’s talking about here. Plus, not too many other comedians are talking about art in their sets, so she’s got a big advantage as just about the only one in her field exploring that sandbox. Its place in Douglas involves Hannah pointing out details that you might miss upon first glance but are so inexplicable that the artists behind these works must have intentionally put them there, like cloth caught in someone’s fanny, or a naked baby holding a music book for St. Cecilia, or a cat that appears to be having a stroke. My knowledge of art history is spotty at best, and that’s a problem, because as a lifelong aspiring Jeopardy! contestant, it’s an area I ought to know plenty about. And for that reason, I have to thank Hannah Gadsby immensely. Her style of teaching art history is bound to make me remember what I need to remember as her shouts of “That is a decision!” ring in my ears.