Convincing my Mum to watch the documentary TIG was going to be an absolute nightmare. She had loved the TV show Nurse Jackie but she had to stop watching it after the first season because Nurse Jackie’s hair was too short and it was pissing her off. Well, Tig Notaro, is a dry witted, androgynist looking comedian with very short spikey hair. I began this movie night pushing uphill.
Tig has been performing comedy sets for years alongside her close friends, Megan Mullally (Will and Grace), Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Show) and Zac Galifianakis (The Hangover), just to name a few. But she hadn’t hit the big time like her friends, until the summer of 2012.
Within a space of four months, she went through a breakup, contracted the deadly disease C-DIF (basically a bacteria that eats your insides), her mother died from falling down the stairs and she got breast cancer. One week after being diagnosed with cancer, Tig went on stage to do a set. Instead of making her standard jokes, she joked and talked about the fact she didn’t know if she was going to live or die.
The audio recording of the set went viral and famous comedians from across America were tweeting about Tig’s raw, heart-breaking and hilarious set. She became an overnight sensation in the middle of the worst time in her life. From there, the documentary follows her through triumphs and tragedies.
So, why the hell would you want to watch a documentary about horrible things that happen to a funny lady? Well, aside from the horror of it all, there are belly laughs. I mean roll on the floor, hold your non-existent abs, belly laughs.
Tig’s extremely dry wit and glacial storytelling pace, immediately drew me in. I watched it three times in one week. I had a movie night with two of my best friends and watched TIG over and over again. To me, it was so enjoyable and funny and sad, that I had to share it with everyone. It was so powerful that I ended up watching Tig’s stand up shows on YouTube all night just so I could get an extra dose of her.
My favourite moment in the entire film was when Tig talks about meeting her future-wife, Stephanie. I wasn’t prepared for it at all. There was so much tragedy in her story and then with the sudden success of her career, it didn’t seem possible that Tig could find love as well. But she does and that’s when the film changes. It’s no longer focused on Tig surviving, it’s focused on Tig living.
She is unique in her style, her mannerisms, and her character. Tig is who she is and she never alters herself for the crowd. But above all else, she allows herself to be vulnerable in front of the camera. Seeing a person’s vulnerability in film is like an arm reaching out of the screen and grabbing your heart. Your heart beats differently than before and it struggles to adjust to the added weight.
So after all that, what did my Mum say about the documentary? “I absolutely loved it Jules, I just wish her hair wasn’t so short”.
I’ll hold onto that first sentence and forget the latter and just be grateful that Tig’s story not only affected me, but my family and friends. Cause the best thing about showing someone a film, the absolute best thing, is when you tell them how it made you feel and their response is…“me too”.