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Thank you, thank you, I have cancer, thank you, I have cancer, really, thank you.
August 6, 2012 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Comedian Tig Notaro has had extreme highs and extreme lows. She is moving to New York to work on Amy Schumer’s new television show, and she was recently on This American Life. But then she had a debilitating bacterial infection in her digestive tract for which she was hospitalized. Days after being released from the hospital, her young mother died suddenly and tragically, then she and her girlfriend broke up. Now she has cancer, in both breasts. Last Friday, Tig performed a stand-up set at LA's Largo at the Coronet where she talked all of this. Everyone laughed and wept. Louis CK said, "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo."
posted by alzi (45 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very sorry to hear it!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:17 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there video of the performance somewhere? I looked at all the links and didn't see any. Maybe my laggy connection won out over my patience and there was a video player still loading somewhere, but otherwise this is just kind of a bummer news blurb.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is a firsthand account of the set:
We all saw the ultimate embodiment of what comedy is supposed to do: deeply personal tragedies somehow transformed, with the enormous, necessary power of an open-hearted audience, into brilliantly-written truths that we’ll all take home with us and keep with us as long as we’ll have a sound-enough mind to remember that show. If schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others, we all shuffled into another corner last night, schadenfreude’s cousin; we’re not laughing at you, we’re crying with you but trying very hard to accept this avalanche of misfortune through the more edible prism of humor.
posted by alzi at 8:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


She's talked about this on her podcast, professor blastoff.
posted by 0bs01337 at 8:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Loved her appearance on Conan, where she elevated the comic's stool to co-star status.
posted by The Deej at 8:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love Tig. I met her at MaxFunCon. She's awesomer than awesome. Here's hoping for a full recovery.
posted by ColdChef at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of her best bits: (probably NSFW)
posted by ColdChef at 8:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good God, I can't believe one person goring through so much in such a short period. I really hope she pulls through.

I had no idea who Tig was before I saw her at the TAL broadcast this spring, where she delivered an absolutely perfect set about Taylor Dayne. You can stream it here.
posted by maudlin at 8:41 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Tig is utterly one of my favorite people as well as one of the world's funniest comics. I hung out with her for a weekend at a festival once and she was incredibly kind and sweet to me even though I was a total n00b about comedy. At one point I was telling her about a show I was producing based on "this show called Largo in LA have you heard of it? They have indie music in between sets and stuff and and and". Despite her being a regular on that show since forever she just smiled and said "Yep, I've heard of it," and proceeded to give me some awesome advice. Also the King of Pop dance she did onstage during her recent This American Life segment? That is the only dance she knows and it kills on the dance floor.

As I said on twitter this weekend, "Tig's life is proof that if you respond to endless bad luck by creating beautiful clever witty art, life will reward you with more bad fucking luck." I pray she beats this bastard cancer. She's lived through a metric ton of bullshit so if anyone can, she can.

Here are some of my favorite Tig bits.
Small Breasts
No Moleste
No Dude
Impressions
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [30 favorites]


From the article:
At one grim point, Notaro slowed to see if the crowd preferred she switch into jokier territory. "There were several 'NOs' and one insistent loud male voice who cried out 'NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE.' [Notaro] looked genuinely taken aback, and relieved. She’d managed to make the tragic not only palatable but overwhelmingly engaging."
posted by ColdChef at 8:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tig is one of my favorite comics, as I've been listening to all of these developments in her life on her podcast I've marveled at her perseverance and general coolness. She ain't got no quit in her, I believe in her.

Good one, Tig, good one.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:49 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tig is the best (person, comic, anything else you can think of) and I was devastated to hear she was sick. I met her at the first MaxFunCon and she was just insanely nice and incredibly funny.

I just wish her the best and hope she gets better soon.
posted by inturnaround at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2012


I love Tig, but with that kind of praise from Louis CK and no video or audio, this is like a post saying that someone caught a bigfoot but they declawed and circumcised him and we can't see any footage.
posted by cmoj at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2012 [21 favorites]


Well, that's the thing with live comedy, isn't it, cmoj? It's often not documented until after the fact, so it's a moment never to be recaptured and all we're left with is the impressions of those who were there.
posted by inturnaround at 9:14 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tig is brilliant and one of my favorite comedians, on the same level as Louis CK. I am so sorry to hear she is going through so much.
posted by peacrow at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2012


I really wanted to go to this show because of her special guests (Mary Lynn Rajskub, Ed Helms, and Bill Burr), but my partner and I have been spending a sickening amount of money on shows at Largo lately. Sad to say I sat out on this one after all.

Pssst. Conan O'Brien will be there on September 16.
posted by mykescipark at 9:24 AM on August 6, 2012


From the album cover, she looks like the singer John Davidson.
posted by Yakuman at 9:27 AM on August 6, 2012


Actually she looks just like comedian Tig Notaro.
posted by inturnaround at 9:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wait, explain again how something happened in front of a bunch of people, and famous people were there too, and there is no video or transcript of it?

My brain actually said those words to itself.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


(robot voice) good one
posted by The Ted at 9:42 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yakuman: “From the album cover, she looks like the singer John Davidson.”

inturnaround: “Actually she looks just like comedian Tig Notaro.”

Actually, she's somewhere between Bruce Jenner and baby Suri.
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


And also, awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


She is hilarious and there are lots of links to video of her in the comments. Yes, it would be great for this show to be captured on audio or video as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 AM on August 6, 2012


I wasn't there, and really wish I was, and yet I'm glad there isn't a transcript or a video. This is one of those moments in comedy (hell, in performance) and Tig is one of those comedians whose impact probably can't be translated outside of the room and the time you didn't know Tig had cancer. The qualities that gave this event their special-ness - Tig's nobility and courage and openness - aren't accessible to us in the same way because we weren't there, because we weren't part of the group she chose to share it with.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


stupidsexyFlanders: Wait, explain again how something happened in front of a bunch of people, and famous people were there too, and there is no video or transcript of it?

Largo is a very small room with a rather beloved, if tyrannical, owner named Flannigan. The policies are very strict. I don't know if they specifically have a no recording policy, but I bet that, even if they don't, their usual audience is too cowed to give it a go.

Which isn't to say video never escapes. I've seen a set or two go up on YouTube. Just that it's a lot more cagey a venue than most. And again, compared to the profile of their bookings, the place is tiny.
posted by gilrain at 9:55 AM on August 6, 2012


Largo is famously anti-taping, and especially when someone is revealing something very real about themselves, most audiences of non-fuckheads don't whip out a phone. If I was at an event like this and someone started taping I would probably commandeer their device in order to commit a minor property damage. A rock band won't be overly bothered by someone waving their recorder around so go for, but it's equally kind of annoying. They are onstage making art for you, just sit there and appreciate it man.

Stand-up is not an event that needs to be journaled about. It's a performance. It exists in the memory of those present much more strongly than it ever could on mp3 or mp4. I hope eventually this set becomes TV-ready, but I'm really happy hearing about what went on, and even more happy that it was allowed to exist as performance rather than document. Otherwise I don't think it could have been as raw and powerful as it seems to have been.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:55 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Add the fact that Louis C.K. was there doing a surprise set (i.e. working on new material), and I wouldn't be surprised at all if Largo was being even more vigilant than usual about people not taping.
posted by Etrigan at 10:14 AM on August 6, 2012


I'm embarrased to say I've never heard of Tig Notaro. That bit that ColdChef linked to is excellent ("Good afternoon"). For me, anyone who is working with the great Amy Schumer has got to be good.
posted by anothermug at 10:59 AM on August 6, 2012


Tig Notaro is super hilarious and awesome, and I hope she'll get better. The world needs more of her.

God, I wish I'd been there.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd not heard of her either (just not very clued in to this scene).

Near the top of this thread, The Deej links to a set she did on the Conan show. I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:05 AM on August 6, 2012


I had no idea who Tig was before I saw her at the TAL broadcast this spring, where she delivered an absolutely perfect set about Taylor Dayne.

Oh, her. I saw that, she is hilarious. I’m pretty freakin intolerant of mediocre comedians, she had me laughing my ass off. I hope things get better for her.
posted by bongo_x at 11:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tig was on Last Comic Standing with my cousin. She is endearingly quirky and fun. I am really sorry to hear of her health problems. She's so young and vibrant.

Hey cancer: No moleste!
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I saw her at MaxFunCon and she killed. I've never seen anyone use silence quite as effectively (and bravely) as she does.

I hope she gets better.
posted by zuhl at 11:37 AM on August 6, 2012


Absolutely love her work. The stuff with making noises with a stool, and doing impressions of impressions show someone who is able to push the boundaries of comedy...
posted by greenhornet at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2012


Not heard of her until recently when someone somewhere linked to the Taylor Dane bit which is at lethal levels of hilarity (ie I was laughing so hard by the end it induced a near fatal asthma attack). Get well soon, Tig.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:00 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artificial Insemination
posted by kamikazegopher at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2012


Stand-up is not an event that needs to be journaled about. It's a performance. It exists in the memory of those present much more strongly than it ever could on mp3 or mp4... I'm really happy hearing about what went on, and even more happy that it was allowed to exist as performance rather than document. Otherwise I don't think it could have been as raw and powerful as it seems to have been.

Stand-up/theatre/opera/ballet/rock & roll... is not an event that needs to be journaled about. It's a performance. It exists in the memory of those present much more strongly than it ever could on mp3 or mp4... I'm really happy hearing about what went on, and even more happy that it was allowed to exist as performance rather than document. Otherwise I don't think it could have been as raw and powerful as it seems to have been.

In the age of digital capture, I'm grateful for all genres of live performance. It's really about as close as we get to real magic.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:07 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


cool beer
posted by mullacc at 2:38 PM on August 6, 2012


In the age of digital capture, I'm grateful for all genres of live performance. It's really about as close as we get to real magic.

This is true, but for those of us who live in podunk towns where we don't get to see cool things...well, you still feel the regret a bit. After all, I usually feel better about not going to Comic-Con once I watch the various panels online (plus I avoided being in line at 3 a.m., right?).

Back on topic, wishing Tig all the best and a speedy recovery.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:47 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


At one part, when she reached a dark place wherein most of the audience could not find the will to laugh, she said “maybe I’ll just go back to telling jokes about bees. Should I do that?” there were several “NOs” and one insistent loud male voice who cried out

“NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE.”


This actually choked me up a little. Is there a term for heckling that's in support of the comic?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:21 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


and even more happy that it was allowed to exist as performance rather than document

Well, I don't know that I'm "even more happy" about that, but I do get the point you're clearly overstating. Having a record of what was apparently a magical performance Friday night would be a great, great thing, even if we can agree that the fact it was unlikely to be recorded may have encouraged Notaro to take more risks in the room.

But I understand it's not to be, this time, and that's ok, because it got me to learn about this fantastically smart comedian with a delivery just not quite a little short of deadpan, but somehow so much funnier than deadpan, and that'll have to do. I hope she tours the east coast sometime soon.

(And jesus, universe, stop fucking with the brilliant lesbian comedian for a while, would you?)
posted by mediareport at 3:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd hate to be the comic who had to go on after her.
posted by escabeche at 6:13 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love her work. Sending positive thoughts her way.
posted by Shebear at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2012


In the age of digital capture, I'm grateful for all genres of live performance. It's really about as close as we get to real magic.

Please.

"The age of digital capture" is real magic. It's how people get to share amazing moments of performance with millions upon millions of people. Your YouTube cats are magic that Merlin couldn't have dreamt. Unrecorded, unshared, un-blogged-about performances have been happening for hundreds of thousands of years. That's not magic. That's rock-knocking humans. If I'd somehow been privileged to be there, that would be fucking amazing and a thousand times better than if I'd gotten to hear or see the performance anyway, which would actually be fucking magic.
posted by cmoj at 9:31 PM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh my god. I just discovered Tig Notaro a week or so ago through her brilliant "no moleste" bit. Here's hoping she'll make a full recovery and that the world will get to hear a lot more from her.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:10 PM on August 6, 2012


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