Do you remember that stand-up set by Tig Notaro that lit the Twitter on fire in August 2012 and launched a little-known comic into the stratosphere? It was the one that Louis C.K. then made available on his website where it quickly sold over 75,000 copies. It started with, “Hello. Good Evening. I have cancer. How are you?”
Well, you’ll be very happy to learn that two filmmakers, Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York, started following Tig through her life shortly after the shitstorm that preceded her cancer diagnosis (yes, the diagnosis was actually the end of a truly terrible phase of Tig’s life, which she details in the film). The resulting documentary, called Tig, premiered at Sundance last Monday.
It's sad and tragic and hilarious and uplifting. I cried even as I laughed but never felt as if I was intruding on someone’s personal hell.
As a subject, Tig is open and vulnerable on camera without making the viewer feel uncomfortable, which I believe can be a tough balance to strike and is a huge part of the film’s appeal. As we watch her navigate the choppy effing waters of rebuilding a life and reimagining her career, we see what is possible; we witness just how resilient our species can be. I realize that sounds like a ridiculous cliché, but seriously - she suffered through this horrible illness called C-Diff, a few weeks later her Mom fell and hit her head and died(!), then she was diagnosed with bi-lateral breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. What?!? It’s unconscionable. How can someone actually LIVE through that?
But she did. She really did. Her career reached new heights, she kicked cancer’s ass, and the glorious buttercream frosting on the cake is that she even fell in love (which is a really beautiful process to watch).
The filmmakers have yet to sign a distribution deal, so like the Tig doc's Facebook page or set your Google alert or whatever you do to ensure you know what happens next. Then go see this movie. It’ll be the most joyful snot-bubble cry you’ve had in a long time.
Check out Tig's podcast Professor Blastoff, including this episode where she talks with documentary director Kristina Goolsby about foster care.