Comedy Review: Tig Notaro Live
A few days ago, I received an email from Louis C. K. Well, me and thousands of his fans. Here is an excerpt:
Greetings to the people and parts of people that are reading this. Hi. This is Louis. I'm a comedian and you bought a thing from me. Well, I'm writing to tell You that there is a new thing you can buy on my website
. It's an audio standup set by not me but another comedian named Tig Notaro. Why am I selling someone else's comedy on my website?
Well, Tig is a friend of mine and she is very funny. I love her voice on stage. 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.
I stood in the wings behind a leg of curtain, about 8 feet from her, and watched her tell a stunned audience "hi. I have cancer. Just found out today. I'm going to die soon". 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.
After her set, I asked Mark Flanagan, the owner of Largo (great club, by the way) if he recorded the set. Largo is set up for excellent recordings. He said that he did.
A few days later, I wrote Tig and asked her if I could release this set on my site. I wanted people to hear what I saw. What we all saw that night. She agreed. The show is on sale for the same 5 dollars I charge for my stuff. I'm only keeping 1. She gets the other 4. Tig has decided to give some of that to cancer research.
Tig, by the way, has since undergone a double mastectomy. She is doing well. Her doctors say her chances of survival are excellent. So she went there and came back. Her report from the frontlines of life and death are here for you to... Enjoy.
Please go to my site
and buy her show. You can buy it here:
Thank you. Have a terrific afternoon.
I felt like Louis said it better than I ever could. I was already a fan of Tig's and knew of her diagnosis from listening to her podcast "Professor Blastoff" on iTunes. I love her style of restrained comedy. She is able to find humor in the funniest of situations and is the type of comedian that would appeal to everybody without offending anyone.
This particular show is everything I love about Tig and more so. She is so brave as she tells the audience that not only does she have cancer in both breasts, but just prior to her diagnosis, she nearly died from c.diff colitis, had pneumonia, and her mother died suddenly and tragically after she tripped and bumped her head. All within a few weeks of each other. And to top it all off, her long-time girlfriend ended their relationship. And then came the cancer.
She tackles the awkwardness that other people are experiencing when they see her, an experience most of us can relate to when someone we love has horrible things happen to them. She is so open and vulnerable with the audience, and the beauty is that you can hear the audience supporting her. As she piles on the tragic stories, shouts of support are heard encouraging her to continue. It's wonderful how a room full of strangers wraps their arms around her. It gives me hope that there are still kind and decent people in this world.
And speaking of kind and decent, that brings me to Louis C.K. I'm a huge fan of Louis, and I've been aware of his philanthropy in the past, particular for women's issues. He didn't have to put Tig's show out there, but he did. And it's a beautiful thing. And I encourage everyone reading this (and all of the friends you tell) to purchase the show, listen to it (over and over like I have), and experience the beauty that is Tig Notaro.
Get it at
Thanks for your time and thanks for supporting Tig!