By Sarah Wyatt
"Once you're on track that is really and truly YOUR track, you can't help but make inspired choices in life," writes Tig Notaro in our email conversation -the Caps Lock hers.
Tig Notaro is a good person, a good friend, an honest person, and a very talented comedian. Notaro is very open about her career, life, and general quirks. She's the kind of person that has an entire section of her website dedicated to sharing secrets about her life. Her latest secret? "I love porridge with sliced bananas on top."
And she's coming to Dallas October 17.
You probably know Notaro from her stellar, Grammy-nominated, stand-up career or her role as a sweet cop on the "Sarah Silverman Program". She's an extraordinary comedian and took real risks to be where she is today in her life. It takes a lot of strength to be a stand up, to put yourself out there on the stage, under the lights, and show a piece of yourself to complete strangers; especially when you're as vulnerable and open comedian as Tig Notaro is. Luckily for us, she has that strength in spades.
Born in Pass Christian, MS, Notaro grew up in Texas. She lived around Austin and Houston, even spending one year in the Plano area. She attended Schimelpfenig Middle School and still "...remember[s] how to spell it because we had to spell it out as we did jumping jacks in gym class." As an adult, Tig has really enjoyed getting to know Dallas a little more each time she visits - she was here recently for Conan O'Brien's live taping. "There are so many surprisingly hip and artistic areas that I think would shock most people."
Notaro left school at a young age, dropping out of high school after having repeated a grade three times. She was supported by "...a free spirited mother..." in an environment "...where dropping out was not the end of the world." And rather than crumble underneath self-doubt or fear, Tig worked hard at many things before she discovered stand-up. She bounced around cities and occupations, including a stint in the music industry in Denver, until she started doing stand-up and found her calling.
"When I found stand-up...I found something that I was supposed to be doing and loved," she says. She has pursued her passion for years until she has become one of the premier stand-up artists in the U.S., on par with Louis C.K. and Sarah Silverman.
Struggle is no stranger to Notaro though; even a pro like her has off nights. Sometimes "...even when my stuff is totally worked out, sometimes it just does not go over really well, but luckily that's a very rare night. I try not to beat myself up too much if that happens, but when it does, it always feels great to have the next show that feels magical so I can quickly forget what that other show felt like."
Notaro is so strong and inspired that she's organized her own comedy festival, the Bentzen Ball (named after a man who supposedly laughed so hard he died). The acts span from Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) to improv troupe "Wild Horses" to musical stand- up act Reggie Watts ("Comedy Bang Bang"). [Sidenote for anyone that shares my obsession for Comedy Bang Bang: Master foley artist Tig Notaro is working on a new sound, "...fffffffttt."]
Since Notaro found her calling, she's been pretty darn busy. "I have toured a bunch, but this is my first comprehensive tour of this nature since 2011," she says. "I enjoy being grounded in LA as much as possible and focusing on my projects and continuing to work on new stand-up. It also allows me to focus more on my personal life, being with my girlfriend, eating healthy, taking good care of myself etc. But it is still nice to get out and tour."
Notaro is dating talented improviser, Stephanie Allynne. Improv and stand-up comedy have different ways of approaching comedy, with improv putting more focus on building something as a group in the moment and stand-up focusing on one person sharing their personal, prepared stories that aim to ring true with at least one other person. With two very different trains of thought when it comes to comedy, you would think they're always butting heads but Notaro says that in "...general we have a very similar sensibility. She wasn't really too familiar with stand-up before we dated, and now she considers herself a bit of a snob, so I'm pretty happy about that."
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Now Notaro is ready to venture outside of comedy.
"[I'd]love to really find a role that truly showcases me as a comedian. But I'm also very curious to possibly do a more dramatic role. I'm actually pretty much open to anything. Mostly, I have just been enjoying continuing to have new and different and bigger opportunities as my career has progressed."
How can you become as successful, as cool, as funny as Tig? "Be yourself and be kind to others." If she didn't have your heart already, she should.
Tig Notaro's Boyish Girl will be at the Majestic Theatre at 8 p.m. October 17. Tickets available via Ticketmaster.com.