To say that Tig Notaro has had a challenging year would be a not-quite-laughable understatement. The result of the talented comic’s bout with breast cancer (and a collection of other poorly timed maladies), though, was the material and rare mood to pull off a single set that’s been described as both heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure.
"In my 27 years doing this I have seen a handful of truly masterful performances. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." That’s reigning stand-up king Louis C.K. tweeting the day after Notaro’s notorious August 3 show at Largo in California. This high-profile endorsement joined others by the likes of Bill Burr and Ed Helms, which, taken along with a widely circulated blog post, incited a wave of speculation that most of us had maybe missed out on something truly special. Now, it looks like we’ll actually get to hear it.
Notaro recorded the set at Largo, and when I spoke with her for a Co.Create profile a while back, she mentioned that clips would likely surface on the radio show This American Life. Thankfully, clips were not going to be enough, and now Louis C.K. is releasing the set through his web platform. The show, entitled LIVE—as in, what she hopes to continue to do—is available for $5 as of October 5th.
Sure, Notaro could have taken this new material on the road when she got better, and we might have eventually seen a "polished" version of it on her tour or on Comedy Central. But stand-up at its best can be like theater, and the spontaneity of this initial performance is, according to those who witnessed it, something truly remarkable. On top of the news that her cancer treatments are going well, and that she just got a book deal with Harper imprint Ecco, it’s starting to seem like a better time to be Tig.