Tig Notaro has made a career out of finding humor in unfortunate and downright grim situations. In her latest role, she plays a foster care social worker, contributing her offbeat sense of humor to lighten up some pretty sad scenes. As much as Notaro brought to her role in Instant Family, out Nov. 16, the comedian tells Bustle that working on the film could very well end up changing her life due to its inspiring adoption story.
"I had been interested in adoption for a long time and specifically adopting siblings interested me, so when this movie came along it was like ‘Oh, how crazy,'" Notaro says at the movie's New York City press junket.
The comedian, who married actor Stephanie Allynne in 2015, adds, "[The movie has] kept that fire burning for me for sure. We have two year-old twins but I feel open — if Stephanie said, 'Yes, let’s do it,' I’d do it." For Notaro, a lot hinged on the premiere of Instant Family, which would be Allynne's first time seeing the heartwarming, hilarious, and very realistic depiction of a couple's endeavor to become foster parents.
As much as Notaro hopes that Instant Family might convince Allynne to consider adopting siblings, the actor/comedian acknowledges that the couple already have a lot on their plates with their twin sons, Max and Finn, who were born via surrogate in 2016, per People. But before Notaro and Allynne welcomed their sons to the world, the couple had considered adopting kids, which the Netflix documentary Tig chronicled.
Instant Family, which is based on the true story of director and writer Sean Anders' experience with adopting three children from the foster care system, will probably instill a new awareness of that system in a lot of viewers.
"The fact that the movie is based on the director, Sean’s, real life, having that groundwork of reality and drama that’s authentic, it just breeds a real humor within it... I love that line of drama and comedy, I think it’s the best," she says. Fans of Notaro's work won't be surprised that she enjoys straddling the line between the two. "I’m all about nonsense. Also no nonsense, I’m both. I don’t mess around. I’m 100% nonsense and I’m also no nonsense," she adds.
Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg's play the parents inspired by Anders and his wife. Their fostering of three kids with tumultuous pasts may even convince some moviegoers to consider that path for themselves, as it seems to have done for Notaro. She hopes that the film has that level of impact, and she advises anyone who feels that pull to explore the available options.
Since Notaro had such a strong connection with her role in Instant Family, I even feel compelled to ask if she'd ever considered working as a social worker herself. She says no, and that "it sounds brutal." But she still wants to help.
"I can’t believe the life that I have and I can’t believe I’m happy, alive, healthy, thriving. I have, you know if I die tomorrow, there’s not anything that somebody in my life would say, 'She never got to see this or that dream come true you know?'" Notaro says with a sigh. Earnestly, she continues, "I’ve done it all, had it all, and I’m very aware that people in this world won’t come close to having the life that I’ve had and I just feel like we could offer so so much. Yeah I just, it just really appeals to me. Fingers crossed that we can get Stephanie in that direction."
As you can probably imagine, Notaro's all nonsense (but also no nonsense) temperament made for some fun times behind the scenes with her co-star Octavia Spencer, who plays her co-worker. "She was always hot on set and I was always cold, so we would hold each other in between scenes to warm up and cool down the other, so we always just wondered what the rest of the cast and crew thought of us just holding each other," the actor says.
Whether she's cooling off her co-stars or reflecting on her privilege, it's clear that Notaro has a great desire to help others when she can. Perhaps that kind of sensibility, paired with the moving influence of Instant Family, will lead to an expansion of her own.