Tig Notaro: “Thank you, thank you, I have cancer"

Tig Notaro is going through some shit. To sum up: Breast cancer, severe infection, family death, breakup, etc. She discussed it onstage the other night.

It began when Ed Helms welcomed her to the stage and she crossed over, took the microphone, and said “Thank you, thank you, I have cancer, thank you, I have cancer, really, thank you.”


While telling us anecdotes from these personal tragedies, all along the way, she assured the audience “it’s okay, I’m going to be okay.” 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


She looked genuinely taken aback, and relieved. She’d managed to make the tragic not only palatable but overwhelmingly engaging. She’d done it.

First off, best wishes to Tig. Sounds heavy.

As for the standup portion of it, CK and Burr were on the show too. They both tweeted about it after. @louisck: "in 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." @billburr: "Just saw Tig Notaro at Largo...made me feel like I was an open miker. Absolute genius!" Would love to hear that set.

The power of dark places, even without laughs, is something I've seen at We're All Friends Here. When someone goes dark/sad/truthful, it can get tough to be funny. But it's a different kind of engagement. It's edge of your seat inducing. And when a line does puncture that tension, it's cathartic in a way that clever one-liners or jokes about bees can't be.

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