“I made so many jokes over the years about how flat chested I was… My boobs overheard me and they were just like, we are so sick of this…let’s kill her”
Tig Notaro is a fine comedian. All sullen and monotone, she was already one of the most exciting comedians slowly imprinting popular culture with neat bit parts and many confident stand up performances. Then she had a really, really shit run. She was diagnosed with breast cancer mere moments after her mother died suddenly and this double whammy hit her so hard that her life and perspective changed.
It changed in more ways than you might imagine. Sure, like every second goddamn handwritten sepia instagram post she started living each day is if it were her last, but she also found her experiences lent her a whole new, albeit deeply dark, idea of what was funny. “As soon as I was diagnosed, everything came over me as funny”, she explains.
You’ve probably heard a lot about Notaro’s subsequent stand up set at Largo in Los Angeles. Described as ‘instantly legendary’, Louis CK called her the next day begging her to release the audio of the show, in which she famously opened, “hi. I have cancer. Just found out today. I’m going to die soon” .
“One night I was performing at a club in LA called Largo. Tig was there. She was about to go on stage. I hadn’t seen Tig in about a year and I said how are you? She replied “well I found out today that I have cancer in both breasts and that it has likely spread to my lymph nodes. My doctor says it looks real bad. “. She wasn’t kidding. I said “uh. Jesus. Tig. Well. Do you… Have your family… Helping?”. She said “well my mom was with me but a few weeks ago she fell down, hit her head and she died”. She still wasn’t kidding.
“Now, I’m pretty stupid to begin with, and I sure didn’t know what to say now. I opened my mouth and this came out. “jeez, Tig. I. Really value you. Highly.”. She said “I value you highly too, Louie.”. Then she held up a wad of note-paper in her hand and said “I’m gonna talk about all of it on stage now. It’s probably going to be a mess”. I said “wow”. And with that, she went on stage…What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can’t really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life. Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute standup voice to her own death.
“The show was an amazing example of what comedy can be. A way to visit your worst fears and laugh at them. Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there. Not by distracting us from the terror but by looking right at it and just turning to us and saying “wow. Right?”. She proved that everything is funny. And has to be. And she could only do this by giving us her own death as an example. So generous.”
Crazy, right? This story paired with Notaro’s excellent comedy chops? Sign. Us Up. We are so excited to hear more about Tig’s journey and thank the gods of great content, we will soon be able to legally and in conjunction with the rest of the world when it premieres on Netflix.
Here’s the official trailer for Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York’s upcoming Netflix documentary Tig:
Tig hits Australian Netflix on July 17.