“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.”
That was the beginning of comedian Tig Notaro’s set at the Largo in Los Angeles on Friday, according to writer Kira Hesser on her Tumblr. Three days prior, Notato, who has been on Conan and The Sarah Silverman Program and released a very funny comedy album in 2011 called Good One, had been told that she has cancer, specifically breast cancer, in both breasts. Although Notaro had discussed the diagnosis on her Professor Blastoff podcast, this was her first stand-up set since doctors passed along the unfortunate news, and according to special guest Louis C.K. via Twitter, “in 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.”
Her cancer is just the latest in a comically, if it weren’t so sad, long line of sh*tty things that have happened to a good person.
[Notaro] went on to explain that in some manic twist of fate, while her career is at an all-time high — she is moving to New York to work on Amy Schumer’s new television show, she was on This American Life — concurrently, all these terrible circumstances have befallen her over the past 3 months: pneumonia made way for a debilitating bacterial infection in her digestive tract for which she was hospitalized and lost 30 pounds off of her already small frame, days after being released from the hospital, her young mother died suddenly and tragically (fell, hit her head, died), then she and her girlfriend broke up, and then, now, cancer. In both breasts. (“You have a lump.” “No, doctor, that’s my breast.” — one of her most renowned bits is about someone remarking upon her small breasts)
Yet she keeps doing what she does best throughout the entire thing: make people laugh.
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
“NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE.”
She looked genuinely taken aback, and relieved. She’d managed to make the tragic not only palatable but overwhelmingly engaging. She’d done it. (Via)
Seriously, F*CK YOU, CANCER. Best of luck, Tig, and keep pushing that stool.