Tig Notaro has seen worse days. In a now legendary August 2012 album initially released by friend Louis C.K. and simply titled Live, Notaro recounted four months of recent hell that included the loss of her mother, a breakup, a life-threatening bacterial infection, and being diagnosed with cancer. Somehow, she made it all funny. So funny, in fact, that the album earned Notaro her first Grammy nomination.
Two years later, Notaro’s cancer is in remission, she’s a regular on shows like The Sarah Silverman Program and Inside Amy Schumer, and she’s back on the road, bringing her unique timing and deadpan humor to audiences across America on her “Boyish Girl Interrupted Tour”.
Seattleites can catch Notaro at the Neptune Theater on November 13th (tickets). I caught up with Notaro via email in advance of her Seattle show.
Blake Madden: Some comedians sit down with pad and paper and actually write out their jokes in a meticulous manner, while others use the stage to workshop material in a conversational way. Do you have a preferred writing method, or do you employ both?
Tig Notaro: I typically do not write out my jokes, I usually just have a few bullet points and ideas of stories I might want to explore, and then I get on stage and start working it out up there. And I record the audio of some shows, then listen to what works and what doesn’t and continue to do this until it starts to feel like the material is starting to come along.
BM: You’ve mentioned Laura Kightlinger as an influence and favorite comedian. What about her style and delivery resonates so strongly with you? Is it something you’ve tried to incorporate into your own act?
TN: I think Laura is just such an honest comedian and a great risk taker, which is something I always admire in comics and people. But in general, I typically will just admire what some of my favorite comics do from a distance, not try to incorporate their style into mine.
BM: Is it strange having a very recognizable–even requested–bit like “Taylor Dayne”? Did you ever think as a comedian you’d get to the point where you’re ‘playing your hit’?
TN: I feel flattered anytime there is a feeling that an audience is hoping to hear something specifically, and every now and then I will do what they want, but its very rare. I love the Taylor Dayne story, but I’m even more excited about telling the new material that I’ve written.
BM: Listening to the “Live” show is a cathartic experience; you’re not sure if the next line is going to be harrowing, hilarious or some weird mixture of both. As a comedian, did you feel a sort of obligation to attack those personal tragedies head on and make them into something funny, or were you just dealing with what was happening in your life via standup?
TN: Just dealing with life and trying to talk about what was authentic to me as a person at the time, which is what I always aim to do.
BM: What’s the next Tig Notaro project we can look forward to, and what’s the dream project we’d see if all the cards fell your way?
TN: My dream project is to have a day off. I have seen all of my dreams come true at this point, so sitting at home sounds great to me. Other than that, I have a Showtime project airing and a book to be released next year. Also, there is a documentary about my life currently being shot and edited for the new year. There’s a few more other very exciting things a-brewin’ but at this point they still remain very top secret. But please stay tuned, won’t you?
For tickets & venue details, head to the Neptune’s ticket page.