MONTREAL — Tig Notaro is a comedic force, and has been for years. But it wasn’t until her recent brush with aggressive breast cancer (for which she underwent a double mastectomy), and the masterful, deeply personal stand-up work which resulted, that Notaro really became acknowledged by the on-the-beaten-path folks.
Accompanied by a stellar opening act, Montreal-ian Deanne Smith (who says of so-called feminazi-ism: “what, are we all going to be like ‘Heil Clit-ler!’?”), Tig took to the stage for the closing evening of the 2013 edition of Just For Laughs. She was in predictably top form, departing from prepared material and drawing audience members in for extensive ad-libbed sequences. One particularly memorable exchange involved a woman in the venue balcony, who offered to help Notaro spell “diarrhea” (turns out there are TWO accepted spellings!) Oh, did we mention the lady is also a contortionist who recently “broke her ass,” which forced her to lie on her stomach, on the floor, throughout the whole show? Yeah, it was that kind of night, and Tig ran wild with it to outstanding effect.
The really fun thing about her is that, while her speaking style adopts a deadpan, soft-spoken monotone, it’s always apparent how much she’s completely enjoying herself in every moment onstage. She did go in to the subject of her cancer and surgery, and told a hilariously heart-warming story about her developing relationship with her stepdad. If forced to estimate, her material was probably 30 percent prepared, and the remaining 70 devoted to taking requests, of a sort. It’s clear that there’s a special bond between Notaro and her fans, and in a realm that occasionally fosters rampant egotism, it’s refreshing to spend even just an hour with an artist so talented and genuine.