Tig Notaro hospitalized following triumphant topless New York Comedy Festival performance

Just 24 hours after another remarkably buzzworthy performance — this time triumphantly onstage at New York City’s Town Hall for the New York Comedy Festival — Tig Notaro faced perhaps her most dangerous health scare yet.

As Notaro tells it today to her Facebook friends, she had gotten offstage at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia on Friday night and was preparing to leave, when: “I collapsed in horrific pain, rushed to the ER and found that a cyst had burst causing MASSIVE internal bleeding.”

Multiple surgeries later, she’s recuperating. Notaro had to postpone the rest of her weekend tour dates.

Her full note today reads as follows:

dearest humans- it is me, tig. (notaro.) thanks to everyone for your support and concern. i am happy to say that i am finally on the mend! what happened you ask? well, after my ridiculously fun show in philly, as i was about to leave the venue, i collapsed in horrific pain, rushed to the ER and found that a cyst had burst causing MASSIVE internal bleeding. they thought the hemorrhaging would stop and heal on its own, but unfortunately it did not. so, after a couple of horribly uncomfortable days of pain, they had to do surgery to stop it and clean up my insides. too much information? not enough information? we will leave it at that. thanks again and please know that i’m resting on a ton of drugs, walking when i can, doing my breathing exercises and trying my darnedest to get back to this tour that has been nothing short of the best time. thanks again and see your faces soon!

Notaro wowed the crowd Thursday night at Town Hall in NYC, where she asked for and received a standing ovation — and in between, took off her shirt in dramatic fashion to perform the bulk of her set topless; her scars from breast cancer for all to see.

As Jason Zinoman wrote in The New York Times: “For the next 30 minutes, Ms. Notaro told jokes so funny and involving that any anxiety or tension in the room disappeared. It was a set as unusual and funny as the 2012 one (also at Largo), but was even truer to her singular aesthetic. She showed the audience her scars and then, through the force of her showmanship, made you forget that they were there. It was a powerful, even inspiring, statement about survival and recovery, and yet, it had the larky feel of a dare.”

And this, in The New Yorker, comparing her to an improv legend: “Del Close, the guru of modern improv comedy, was known for imparting instructions that were halfway between koans and clichés. One was “Don’t Think.” Another was “Follow the Fear.” Notaro’s shirtless performance was a textbook illustration of what these phrases mean, and why they are good advice. If a bizarre series of escalated jokes suggests an opportunity to disrobe in public, the appropriate response is to think better of it, and to keep your clothes on. By not thinking and doing the inappropriate thing, Notaro, not for the first time, found within her joke-telling a moment of transcendence. The image was almost too easy to read as allegory: a comic literally willing to bare it all, her flesh literally scarred, the shape of her body a living rebuke to gender norms.”

Here, in her own words and video, Tig Notaro today:

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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