The most important night of Tig Notaro’s career came out of the worst time in her life. Over the course of a few months, she nearly died from an infection, her mother passed away suddenly and she broke up with her girlfriend. Then she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.
The next day, she performed at Largo in Los Angeles and talked openly about it. Louis C.K. was in the audience and tweeted about her set, calling it “masterful” and pushing her career to a new level.
amNewYork spoke with Notaro as she prepared to perform as part of the New York Comedy Festival Wednesday at Town Hall.
What made you decide to move forward that night at Largo?
I had been in the middle of a horrific four months ? I had this show coming up, but to discuss anything other than what I was going through in my real life would have been inauthentic, so I tried to make light of what was going on. It ultimately really helped me process things. I feel forever grateful.
Were you surprised by how much attention it received?
Yeah, because it was such a raw and unpolished stand-up set. Typically a comedian will hone material for months on the road before deciding to record a special. That was the first and only time I had performed any of that. More than anything, I felt relieved that it went over so well, because I thought it quite possibly could have been my last time doing stand-up and what a horrible way to go out if I had bombed.
You’re working on a memoir. What can you tell us about it?
The book is about those well-publicized four months of my life. Even with all of the interviews and my album doing so well, that 30 minutes on stage at Largo was just a peek into all I had been experiencing.
You also have a Showtime series launching later this year. Where did the idea for “Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro” come from?
It’s an idea I had for a while, and even did on the road quite a bit in previous years. It’s me doing shows at my fans’ homes, rooftops, barns, basements, you name it. ? Being that the shows I previously did were so fun, I thought this could be a great idea for TV.
If you go: Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted, Part of the New York Comedy Festival, is Thursday at Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., 8 p.m., $34.50-$54.50.