Tig is a documentary about a year in the life of comedian Tig Notaro. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.
I recommend the film to everyone. Not because it’s a great documentary, but because Tig Notaro is a woman to admire and respect.
The documentary looks at a year in Tig’s life in which she was diagnosed with C-diff and breast cancer, the year in which her mother died, and the year in which she learned that her dreams of being a mother might never come to fruition. Any one of those things would be devastating, and they all happened at once.
Tig is a stand-up comedian. When something happens in her life, she deals with it by adding it to her stand-up routine. The documentary begins 2 days after she received her cancer diagnosis, on the night she walked on a stage and said, “Hello. How are you? I have cancer.”
In the following year, the news of her groundbreaking performance went viral, the sound recording of that night became a best selling album called “Tig Notaro Live” (pronounced with a short i). She became famous and the darling of talk shows and interview segments.
In that year she made a decision that could have caused her cancer to recur in order to try to become a mother. In that year she also fell in love with Stephanie Allynne, an actress she met while working on In a World.
One of many interviews about Tig in the documentary is Stephanie Allynne talking about how she believed she was straight. That kept her from recognizing her feelings for Tig for a while. She seems to have it figured out now; the couple recently announced their engagement.
One year after Tig’s “I have cancer” performance, she was back on the same stage. She’d made it through a rough year and came out of it with renewed confidence and finely honed jokes about it.
There were some poignant, painfully real moments in the film. There were also moments that felt as if they were staged after the fact – reenactments, if you will. The real parts were compelling, the recreated events felt out of place. As storytelling devices, they were there for a purpose, but they still felt out of place.
The overall effect of the film is one of wonderment: at the strength of character that Tig Notaro has, at the humor she brings into her life to deal with hard times, and at her physical recovery from such difficult illnesses.
Tig Notaro is a strong, beautiful, hilarious woman. Watch the documentary.