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The semi-autobiographical comedy, revealed the Hollywood Reporter, follows a loosely fictionalized version of Notaro’s recent experiences.
“Tig Notaro has just recovered from an abdominal disease that has left her gaunt, wasted, exhausted and pretty much stripped of everything except her finely honed sense of the absurd,” read the official description of the new comedy. “Abruptly summoned home to Pass Christian, Miss., to take her ailing mother off life support, Tig finds herself dealing with her clingy girlfriend, her dysfunctional Gulf Coast family and the loss of the one person who held everything together.”
Notaro had a shitty, shitty 2012. That’s when her mother died, she broke up with her then-girlfriend, and she collapsed and was later diagnosed with an extreme form of infectious colitis that was basically eating her body from inside out.
But nothing tops cancer. By the time Notaro was diagnosed, in July 2012, with bilateral breast cancer on top of everything else she’d endured, she was ready to take the show on the road and try to laugh it all off a little.
Edgy mastectomy humor became Notaro’s calling card after the now-legendary August 2012 standup set at which she announced her cancer struggles. The comedian barely slowed down her packed schedule—of touring standup comedy clubs and shooting guest roles on shows like The Sarah Silverman Program and Inside Amy Schumer—in order to undergo double mastectomy surgery.
Somehow, the worst year of Notaro’s life translated into comedy, and her fame skyrocketed. She also fell in love with her current fiancé, Stephanie Allynne, who stars alongside Notaro in a Netflix documentary (Tig) about the time of crisis. The two are now trying to conceive a child—what Notaro hilariously called “blood children” in a Vulture interview because her partner plans to get pregnant rather than adopt.
In another interview on Wednesday, Notaro told After Ellen that she’s received a wide range of responses from total strangers concerned with her health crisis.
“This is so unusual,” Notaro told After Ellen‘s Trish Bendix, “To go through such horrible events publicly and people are aware of all my ups and downs—I’ll be crossing a street and somebody will say, ‘Hey there’s a health food restaurant down here, I think you’d really like it. I hope you’re doing well!”
Notaro also said in the interview that a few people seemed more than a little confused about why she had her breasts removed without reconstruction.
“I’ve had people—not very many, but a few people reach out and congratulate me on my free top surgery when I was going through that,” Notaro told After Ellen. “And I was hurt by that because I was in a traumatic situation and never considered having—I didn’t experience that. I was just like, I have cancer and so I’m having a double-mastectomy.”
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.