The Tig Notaro Netflix Documentary Is An Emotional Look At Her Second Chance At Life & Love
Sometimes in life, it's the tragic events that make us stronger. No one knows that better than comedian Tig Notaro, who went from an emerging talent to a legendary stand-up comedian after one fateful set in 2012. After losing her mother to a freak accident and receiving her own breast cancer diagnosis, she went ahead with her regular slot at Largo in Los Angeles. Thought she was personally reeling, Notaro waded through these tragedies by doing what she does best: Performing. ("Hello, good evening, I have cancer. How are you?") The new Netflix documentary Tig shows fans how the comedian's life changed again after the rapid viral spread of this one notorious show settled down, and how she was able to move forward in the aftermath. It's available to stream right now, and I totally recommend you watch. But, be prepared to get emotional.
In the film, Notaro recounts the immediate and overwhelming reaction to her bold and honest set. She had "hundreds of emails" the next morning. Her voicemail was full. Ed Helms, who was in the audience, texted his girlfriend that "Tig is doing something historic right now." Louis C.K. prodded her to release the live recording as an album, and eventually hosted it for download on his own site. But, the performance itself was hardly a calculated move. "I had zero sense that that show was going to change my life," Notaro says in Tig. And, it left comedy fans with huge expectations for her next act.
But, first, Tig Notaro had to see to her health. In the documentary, she discusses her double mastectomy and the relief that comes with the words "we got it all." There's even grainy cell phone footage of pal Sarah Silverman entertaining Notaro in her hospital bed. Laughter may not be the best medicine, scientifically speaking. But, it certainly makes the scary stuff less scarier.
With a new lease on life comes the pressure not to waste it. Notaro spends a few months performing, where "the material is barely there." It's not enough, and she knows it. The magic of that set can't be duplicated (no matter how many journalists ask); there has to be something different, and more. Alongside her preparations for the one year anniversary of the Largo show, Notaro starts to think about having children again, a desire that faded for a while after the loss of her mother.
Tig is a lesson to all — no matter what you've endured — to "just keep swimming." In the documentary, even with all the tragedy and pressure heaped on her, Notaro never withdraws. She remains open and candid, sharing her struggles with friends, family, and colleagues. And, guess what? That results in some incredible work. "I made so many jokes over the years about how small my chest was," she jokes. "And, I started to think that maybe my boobs overheard me and were just like, 'You know what? We're sick of this. Let's kill her.'"
The film is so hopeful, especially as it shows the comedian forming a new and very deep friendship, which eventually turns into a life partnership. "I have way more to be excited and positive about than I did a year ago," Notaro tells her now fiancée Stephanie Allynne. "I couldn't be happier."
Ultimately, Tig is a celebration of second chances, and well-worth a good laugh-cry.