Tig Notaro is a rare talent. She’s dry, sardonic, at times unbelievably dark and over the years, brutally honest about her personal life. From trying to process her cancer diagnosis in real time in front of an audience on her album Live, to making her way through all of that (on top of meeting her wife) in the documentary Tig, to processing the death of her mother on top of all of that in One Mississippi. Yeah, the more you know about her life, the more you appreciate the comedy she's mined from it. 

So, here are fifteen reasons we believe she belongs in the Hall of Fame. 

Tig on Dumb Phrases

“All my friends are having kids, and they always send email updates. I love getting those. What I can't stand is when they include the question ‘Can you believe it?’ ‘Caitlyn is starting kindergarten this year, can you believe it?’ 

I don't know, I mean what is she about five? That sounds about right. Yeah, I can believe that. If they were to email me me like, ‘Caitlyn has never grown any bigger since the day she was born, never spoken a word at all in her life. She's graduating from college today, can you believe it?’Oh my god, no I can't believe that. Send more photos. Can I believe that Caitlyn is following the natural progression of life? Yeah, I can totally wrap my head around that.”

Pixabay - OmarMedinaFilms

Tig on Bad Pick-Up Lines

I was at a party , and this guy was hitting on me. But he was hitting on me with the most boring questions. One of them was “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?’

And I was like, ‘Anywhere?’

And he was like, ‘Anywhere.’

I was like, ‘To the other side of the room. Now, please get out of the way of a woman and her dream.’”

Tig on Do Not Disturb Signs

“Everywhere I go as soon as I check into my hotel room, I immediately hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Or for the Spanish speaking, No Moleste. That was kind of a creepy feeling hanging that on my door before bed. Nope! No moleste. Not tonight. Try a couple doors down. And actually after I did that joke one night in Omaha this guy came up to me and he's like ‘Just so you know, I'm a Spanish interpreter and moleste means to annoy or bother.’ 

I know. No moleste. So he thought that I thought there were sexual predators running up and down the halls of the resort where I was staying, and that all the management decided to do instead of spring in for some security was just to run down to the local Kinkos and run off some shoddy low-rent signs that just said No Moleste. So you're in your room at night someone's banging on the door trying to beat the door down… You're like ‘No moleste!’ He's like, “Oh, sorry. The sign was turned the wrong way. It said Sí Moleste.’  ‘Okay cool. Could you just turn that around for me, creepy?’ So that guy in Omaha just must have been dying to let me know that he was an idiot.”

Tig on Parenting

“I feel like and I are doing a great job. I really do. But I also feel like it would be reasonable if somebody had called Child Protective Services a couple of times. When Max and Finn were just a couple of months old, we were so amused 'cause people would come over to meet the babies, and what we would do is we'd prop them up with our hands underneath their armpits and then we'd say, ‘Yep, they're pretty much walking.’ 

Then we'd let go and then their little noodle legs would buckle, and then we'd catch 'em half an inch before they hit the ground. Oh, is that a treat. If you have a baby, I highly recommend trying this out. If you don't have a baby but know someone with a baby, ask to borrow the baby. Nobody will regret this. The baby's clueless. They're just a blob, and you catch it-That's the key, you have to catch them. You can't just let the little blobs fall because that's when there's trouble.”

Tig on Politics

“I'm not the most politically active person but I'm trying to get better about that. What I've been doing is just showing up to any given rally and marching with a sign that just says, ‘Yeah, totally.’

You have to start somewhere. Just gotta ease in.”

Tig on Swimming

Have any people here noticed at public pools, the signs that say that you cannot go swimming if you have diarrhea? Okay, here's the thing… I am on their side. Absolutely, you should not be swimming if you have diarrhea. My question is, how frequently was this happening that they were like ‘You know what? We gotta put a sign up.’

But how confident of a person do you have to be to be like, ‘Oh man, i'm not feeling well. Doctor said I should definitely stay home and stick near the toilet. But you know what? I'm gonna head down to the public pool and go swim around with full-blown diarrhea.’

The lifeguard's like ‘Hey! Out of the pool! You can't swim with diarrhea!”

‘So this is a problem? Yeah, I gotta get out of the pool. Listen, if you don't want me swimming with diarrhea, then you're going to need to hang up a sign. Because there is no possible way I would just know that.”

Tig on Cats

“A couple of years ago my wife and I adopted a precious little kitten named Fluff. That's her given name, and we kept it out of respect for her birth parents. And I realized the other day in the living room that I had never meowed at her. I was like oh my god I'm gonna totally meow at Fluff and so I looked at her and I says to her, I says ‘MEOW!’

And she was like, ‘No way! How is this just now coming up?’

She's stunned. Just there, this little kitten's stunned face and she says back to me, she says ‘MEOW!’ We are going back and forth having the time of our lives and then leans out of the kitchen and says, ‘I wouldn't do that if I were you.’

‘What? What are you talking about?’

‘I wouldn't do that. You don't know what you're saying to her. You could be saying something rude or inappropriate.’

‘No, I feel confident we both just agreed that you're insane.”

Tig on Dumb Phrases, Part Two

“Seems like it’s really popular these days to say things like, ‘Ugh, that grossed me out. I just threw up a little in my mouth’ or ‘You’re so funny. I just peed a little.’ And it’s like, you’re a gross person. Why don’t you pull yourself together, and then rejoin polite society after you’ve cleaned yourself up a bit. When you say those things, you cause me to shed my uterine lining.”

Tig on Her Name

“I like my name… Though a lot of people changed their names or give their names away to things things like Lou Gehrig's disease or Jenny Craig. That's somebody's name. My name is Tig Notaro and I know I wouldn't want to be driving down the road one day and see a billboard that said, “I did TIG Notaro for three weeks and lost 50 pounds’ …or maybe I would.

Tig on Misgendering

“For the majority of my adult life, I have been mistaken for a man at least once a week. It's more than that, but I don't want to seem like I'm exaggerating. But I also feel confident that probably nobody here is like we're gonna need some examples. And it doesn't bother me. I feel comfortable with who I am. I know who I am, I know what I am. You can call me a choo choo train, doesn't matter. I know who I am. Now, I can't believe it took me 46 years to come up with this response, and if this happens to you, please feel free to use it. Give me credit, 'cause it's good. I went into a shop and walked up to the counter and the man behind the cash register said, ‘How can I help you, sir?’

And I said, ‘Just the gum, ma'am.’

And we were just in this lockdown moment of utter confusion. Just like yeah, I don't know what I'm looking at either.”

Tig on Messing with Her Friends

“I love sending text messages to friends of mine at random times of the day that just say, ‘What’s your ETA?’ I just love knowing that somewhere across town, somebody is half naked, frantically rifling through emails and text messages trying to figure out what they agreed to do with me. They write back, ‘WHAT?!?’ 

Then I’d write back, “Yeah, we’re all seated. Better hurry.’

They’d write back, “Where?’ And then don’t respond… Ever again. Cut them out of your life. Delete them from your phone. Just move on. It was time, and you both knew it.”

Tig on Her Breasts

“I notice more and more women are getting fake boobs. Meanwhile, I haven’t even gotten real ones yet. I mean, I have boobs. They’re just concave. So much so they even kinda stick out of my back a little bit.”

Tig on Her Breasts, Eight Years Later

“Here's a little tidbit about me: I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer and I ended up getting a double mastectomy. Before I had a double mastectomy I was already pretty flat-chested and I made so many jokes over the years about how small my chest was that I started to think that maybe my boobs overheard me and were just like, “You know what? We're sick of this. Let's kill her.’”

Pretty Much All of Tig’s Album, Live

On August 3, 2012, the day after being diagnosed with stage 2 cancer in both of her breasts, Tig Notaro was set to perform at The Largo in Los Angeles. Not feeling like going into her regular material, she took the stage and just talked about her cancer diagnosis. It’s not every day you hear someone open a comedy album with “Good evening. Hello, I have cancer. How are you? Everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” and just riff on that for a half hour. 

The next day, Louis C.K. couldn’t stop thinking about how powerful her set was the night before, and convinced Tig to release the recording of that set as an album. Odd side note: Louis had this epiphone while he was having lunch with Woody freaking Allen. That may not have seemed that weird back in 2012, but given what’s come out about those two men since then it seems really weird thinking of them eating lunch and talking about any subject relating to a woman’s breasts, regardless of context.

If you get the chance to listen to the whole album, we highly recommend it. Just to hear someone with amazing comedic chops like her be just a couple steps ahead of her audience in processing this tragic, life-changing turn of events… It’s heavy shit, and it gets really dark, but damn, it is cathartic.

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