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Tig Notaro: On Podcasts, Her New Album, and Living Under a Rock

Tig Notaro delivers uniqe and hilarious comedy on her new album. Tig Notaro delivers uniqe and hilarious comedy on her new album.

Devoted comedy afficiandos are already familiar with Tig Notaro, as are fans of The Sarah Silverman Program, who will recognize the Mississippi-born stand-up comic for her regular appearances on that show. But new fans will be turned on to Notaro's unique style of comedy thanks to her debut album, Good One, which is about to drop courtesy of indie label extraordinaire Secretly Canadian, who take a quick break from musical releases to make their first foray into the comedy realm. RosebudMag.com managed to snag Tig from her busy schedule for an email interview.

RosebudMag: The new album is hilarious. How did your relationship with Secretly Canadian come about? It seems like a great pairing given that neither their music nor your comedy are really mainstream.

Tig: I was touring with Jens Lekman, one of their singers on the label, and so they got to see me perform a bunch on that tour. A year or so later when I was on my own, touring thru Bloomington, Indiana (the town Secretly Canadian is based in) they all came out to my shows and then basically offered me a deal. I knew immediately I was going to sign with them. I have no doubt it was the best decision for me as far as labels go.

RM: Do you think the comedy landscape is changing? Is there more appreciation of “alternative comedy” now than previously?

Tig: I do think it’s changing, but I think that's just natural with anything in time. I know I'm considered by some to be "alternative" but I do shows pretty much anywhere for anyone. I do comedy clubs, theaters, rock clubs, colleges, churches, art houses, corporate gigs, coffee shops, living rooms - you name it, I'll probably be into it. I like the challenge of having my style of comedy and seeing if I can make it translate anywhere.

RM: Do you still find yourself doing shows for audiences that clearly don’t get you? If so, how do you deal with that – try to win them over, or just do your thing and let them not get it?

Tig: Here and there I'll have a show that isn't quite hitting the way it normally does, but I fully blame myself in those situations. Also, sometimes for no clear reason it’s an off night. I always just do what I do and then if the audience isn't into it, I really don't have a back up plan. Not having a back up plan sort of forces me to make it happen.

RM: What inspired your career change from working in the music industry to doing stand-up?

Tig: I always wanted to be a stand up, but just never tried it out. As soon as I did, I realized everything I did before that was just me killing time until I got to be a comedian. My first open mic I thought, "Aaahhh... this is what I was looking for."

RM: How much of growing up in the South shaped your current world view and comedic outlook?

Tig: It’s not an overpowering force in my view, but its certainly a force. There are so many elements to my outlook, from music, travel, my mother, comic friends, personal tribulations - it all adds to the equation pretty equally, but I would for sure never take away my southern roots.

RM: Tell us about your new podcast. Where did the idea come from? Were you concerned with trying to distinguish yourself from all the other comics out there with podcasts?

Tig: Professor Blastoff is a discussion ranging from science to philosophy to theology to the metaphysical. It came from organically discussing those topics with my co-hosts Kyle (Dunnigan) and David (Huntsberger) in our regular lives together as friends. When I mentioned the idea to Scott Aukerman, our executive producer, he immediately said he'd like us to do it on the Earwolf network. And as for concern distinguishing ourselves, I started doing the podcast before I realized just how popular podcasts were. I have a tendency to live under a rock in ways that alarm people sometimes. It was such a casual mention of the idea to Scott, not even knowing he had started a network, and then we were being broadcast before I knew it. It wasn't until after we were airing that the whole idea of how the show’s numbers were doing even crossed my mind. Luckily our numbers have remained steady and the show has hit its groove more and more. It’s so fun to do, because like I said, Kyle, David and I already discuss the topics in our real life, so now the only difference is thousands of people are eavesdropping.
RM: How was your experience as a regular on the Sarah Silverman Program? Do you see yourself doing more TV?

Tig: Sarah’s show was a blast and a huge learning curve for me. I'm a stand up, not an actor, so I had to just show up on set and pretend like it made sense that I was there. Being Sarah’s friend in real life was the audition process, so I just did it. Even though stand up is my passion and first love, I've been lucky that Sarah’s show led me into other acting jobs and I TOTALLY want to do more if anyone will have me. But if they don't, I don't blame them.

RM: Do you prefer email interviews to phone interviews because you get a lot of dummies asking you the same thing again and again? I gotta say, as a fan, I was disappointed not to get to talk to you.

Tig: I'm sorry. The only reason I prefer email over phone interviews is that sometimes I'm not in the mood when the scheduled call time comes up. It’s so much easier for me to sit down and respond to email interviews based on when I'm in the mood to talk about myself - which to be honest is very rare. If it matters at all, I love that you cared enough to demand answers!

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Tig Notaro doing one of her signature bits.
Last modified on Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:19

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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