Ask any writer, actor, or comedian about their lives, and they all say the same thing: it’s all fodder for their art. That doesn’t necessarily imply that the material is dark, but for comedian, actor, and NPR favorite Tig Notaro, one particular year yielded the stuff of nightmares for a lifetime. But she managed to turn that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, into brilliant comedy.
In 2012, in the span of four months, Notaro was hospitalized for pneumonia and the life-threatening and debilitating infection Clostridium difficile, affectionately known as C-diff; her mother tripped, fell, and subsequently died from a brain hemorrhage; Notaro broke up with her girlfriend; and she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. (And how was your 2012?) Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she went onstage and started her set with, “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” Louis C.K., who was there that night, tweeted, “I’ve seen a handful of truly great masterful standout sets. One was Tig Notaro last night.” She subsequently made an HBO comedy special, Boyish Girl Interrupted, in which she performed with her top off, celebrating her mastectomy scars. “It was really just part of the process of coming to terms with what my life was,” Notaro said in a Time interview.
Now, she has gathered all that dark stuff into a memoir , I’m Just a Person, that will be out in June. Notaro will talk about her book, that miserable year, and her recent life—which is a vast improvement over 2012—in the Special Events Hall, 2–3 p.m.
This article appeared in the May 14, 2016 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.