Tragedy + time – time + comedy = Tig Notaro deals with a cancer diagnosis publicly

Comedians can process bad news like nobody’s business. Or rather, like it’s their job in show business.

And in the new new world we live in now, with podcasts and YouTube videos and Web exclusives and Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr, everyone is sharing even more of themselves than ever. Not always for the best reasons.

Tig Notaro, meanwhile, has shown amazing courage and comedic skill in talking about her own situation. Which, in addition to highs — multiple performances on Conan, a great CD, and a writing gig for Amy Schumer’s upcoming Comedy Central series — has included some massive lows. Most recently, Notaro learned she has breast cancer. While still waiting for biopsies, Notaro discussed her health on the Earwolf podcast she co-hosts, Professor Blastoff. A few nights later, Notaro took to the stage at her show at Largo in Los Angeles.

“Tragedy + time = comedy. But I don’t have the benefit of time. So I’m just going to tell you the tragedy and know that everything is going to be okay,” Notaro said, opening her set.

Comedian Kira Hesser documented as much as she could on Tumblr from Notaro’s Largo performance. Read it. Read it now. Read it again.

Ed Helms, who introduced Notaro, wrote this afterward: “Tig Notaro just blew my mind at Largo. One of the most amazing stand-up sets I’ve ever seen.”

Bill Burr, also on the “Tig and Friends” show that night, wrote: “Just saw Tig Notaro at Largo…made me feel like I was an open miker. Absolute genius!”

And Louis CK added: “in 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.”

Here is a recent interview Tig Notaro did with Pete Holmes backstage in the Team Coco studios last month. Roll it.

Related reading: Previous posts about Tig Notaro.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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