Tig Notaro at Bumbershoot 2010
|Birth name||Mathilde O'Callaghan Notaro|
March 24, 1971 |
Notaro was born in Jackson, Mississippi to mother Mathilde "Susie" Cusack (née O'Callaghan). Notaro was raised in Pass Christian until kindergarten. Her family later moved to a small town outside of Houston, Texas called Spring, Texas. Her mother remarried, to an attorney in the military named Leslie Cusack, who Notaro said traveled a lot for his job. She has an older brother, Renaud Notaro, who is a year older than her and is a radio talk show host.
Notaro said she used to "go back and spend my summers and holidays with my grandmother and cousins and aunts and uncles. It's right there on the Gulf Coast, and we would hang out on the water and go sailing or fishing or crabbing or floundering and build bonfires and there's a harbor there and a yacht club. And then Hurricane Katrina came and wiped it out. That was devastating. My mother grew up in that town and my family's been there for generations, so it was very sad to see these historic buildings and places where I had so many memories get wiped away."
Notaro said that as a kid she was "a full-blown tomboy, I was very mischievous and got into a lot of trouble. Everybody in my family smoked, and I started smoking probably when I was nine. My friends used to call me Huckleberry Tig."
Notaro said she "failed three grades [eighth grade twice, and then ninth grade] and dropped out of high school" and moved to Denver, Colorado, where she became involved in the music industry, setting up as a band manager, under the name Tignation Promotions. Notaro said she got her G.E.D., but that her cat ate it.
"Tig" is a childhood nickname given to her by her brother when she was 2 years old.
Notaro's great-great-grandfather was John Fitzpatrick, mayor of New Orleans from 1892 to 1896. Notaro said that her mother was born in New Orleans, and that she has "family still in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and Hammond, they're all over, and then also in Mississippi. That's where the majority of my family is, in Mississippi and Louisiana; some are in Texas, but mostly Mississippi and Louisiana."
Notaro's work promoting bands took her to Los Angeles, where she tried stand-up for the first time. She said that although she imagined doing stand-up as a kid, "I just didn't understand how people became comedians. I kind of thought it was something you were born into." Notaro said "[c]omedy was a secret want, but it wasn't anything I pursued." Until she moved to Los Angeles and started doing open mics.
Notaro has been featured on Comedy Central Presents, and on The Sarah Silverman Program as a lesbian police officer. She collaborates frequently with writing partner Kyle Dunnigan. With Dunnigan and David Huntsberger, she hosts the podcast Professor Blastoff.
In 2011, she released her debut stand-up album, Good One.
In 2012, Notaro appeared on the Conan television show and on This American Life. She worked on fellow comedian Amy Schumer's series, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer. Also in 2012, Notaro did a Kickstarter-funded series called Clown Service, written by and starring Notaro.
Breakthrough and cancer
I got pneumonia, and then I contracted this life-threatening, deadly illness called C. diff., and it's this bacteria that just eats your intestines. I was in the hospital for a week, lost 20 lbs...and then it was my birthday a couple days after the hospital.... A few days after that, my mother passed away unexpectedly ... a freak accident [she tripped and hit her head].... I got off of a relationship shortly after that, and then I was diagnosed with cancer.... This was all in four months.
On August 3, 2012, Notaro addressed her recent cancer treatments and other personal difficulties during her live stage show at Largo in Los Angeles. The set has been described as "instantly legendary," with many comedians praising her work.
Comedian Louis C.K., who was there that night along with Ed Helms, Bill Burr, Mary Lynn Rajskub tweeted the next day, "In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." He called Notaro the next day telling her he wanted to release the audio of the show, but it took Notaro time to feel comfortable, as she did not know if people would understand. But then she said she started to think it would help people, and put her own fears and concerns aside.
In October 2012, C.K. made audio of the performance available for download on his site under the title Live (as in to live a life, not a live recording) until Notaro later released the audio (with booklet) on iTunes. Live ended up selling more records than Kiss, which Notaro said, as a fan of Kiss when she was a kid, she never would have imagined that it could happen.
In November 2014, as part of the New York Comedy Festival, Notaro did a set at Town Hall in New York City where she performed part of the set topless. The New York Times described it: "She showed the audience her scars and then, through the force of her showmanship, made you forget that they were there. It was a powerful, even inspiring, statement about survival and recovery, and yet, it had the larky feel of a dare."
On her approach to comedy (and if she considers herself a dark comic): "I'm always going to do whatever I think is funniest. If something's dark, I'll do it. If it's a sock puppet, if it's a stool, I'll do it. There's no preconceived idea of who I think I might be now."
Notaro said that the shift for her, since the cancer diagnosis, has not been to do darker comedy, but instead, to do more personal comedy. Previously she was more distant and observational, but now she reflects on her childhood and her life now, "kind of anything that happens."
Notaro was diagnosed with stage 2, bi-lateral breast cancer, with a tumor on the left hand side that was invasive. She had a double mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery. Notaro opted out of chemo but decided to continue treatment with hormone blocking.
Notaro sometimes discusses her romantic relationships in her act, but she has "tried to remain private about her sexuality". She joked that her 2012 life changes had led to a romantic predicament that would require a special person who "lies to me and herself".
On growing up in the South and realizing she was gay: "I never ran into a single problem with any friend or family member."
- 2015: Tig aka Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro (documentary) - also producer
- 2014: Ashes
- 2014: Catch Hell
- 2014: Walk of Shame
- 2013: In a World...
- 2014: Rubberhead, segment: "Lisa"
- 2012: Susan 313
- 2008: Held Up
- 2014: Comedy Bang! Bang!, episode: "Wayne Coyne Wears a Halloween Costume"
- 2014: Transparent, episodes: "Rollin'," "The Letting Go"
- 2014: Garfunkel and Oates, episode: "Rule 34"
- 2014: Maron, episode: Mouth Cancer Gig
- 2014: Suburgatory, episode: "Dalia Nicole Smith"
- 2013: Inside Amy Schumer, episodes: "Terrible People," "Gang Bang" - also writer on 10 episodes
- 2013: Bob's Burgers, episode: "Boyz 4 Now"
- 2012: The Office, episode: "Test the Store"
- 2012: UnCabaret - writer only
- 2011: The Life & Times of Tim, episode: "The Model from Newark/Tim's Hair Looks Amazing" (voice of receptionist)
- 2010: Community, episode: "Mixology Certification"
- 2010: MTV Movie Awards - writer only
- 2007-2010: The Sarah Silverman Program, 9 episodes
- 2009: Back on Topps, episode: "Rejuvenated"
- 2009: In the Motherhood, 4 episodes
- 2006: Dog Bites Man, episode: "Assignment: Undercover Homosexual"
- 2004: Comedy Central Presents Tig - also writer
- 2014: Clown Service - also director, executive producer, co-writer
- 2011: Crying in Public
- 2010: Held Up
- 2010: Lez Chat - also director, writer
- 2009: The Tig Series - also writer, executive producer
- 2008: Have Tig at Your Party - also writer, executive producer
- July 20, 2013: Notaro appeared on an episode of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! show as a guest on the segment called "Not My Job".
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