Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro, which premieres April 17 at 9 p.m. on Showtime, is not a concert film of the comedian's stand-up. Technically, it's a tour documentary of Notaro at a series of DIY house shows, except there is little stage time featured. The film instead focuses on the towns she visits, the people who invited her, and the adventures shared with tour partner and fellow comic John Dore. The result is an intimate and moody reverie, exploring the relationships made, however brief, between a comic and the audience members she encounters on the road.
At the top of the film, Nick Kroll stops by Notaro's home to help her choose show locations from a collection of videos submitted by fans. She explains to him, "With this past year that I've had," — breast cancer, the death of her mother, a breakup, and the sudden fame that erupted after a candid improvised performance detailing the traumas — "there's a different feeling of wanting to go out, see who my fans are, and not have that shield of, 'I'm at a comedy club and you're the audience who's coming to pay.'"
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The shows are typically small and haphazard. We see her hosts navigate location changes, rain contingencies, and awkwardly enthusiastic welcomes. The audience even plays costar during the performance clips that did make the cut, almost all of which are improvised bits of crowd work. "Going into a person's home, you can't help but make jokes about it," Notaro explains. "I interact with the audience a lot anyway. But being in people's homes really begs for it."
We also see Dore and Notaro thrift shopping, shooting off fireworks, and visiting a headstone store. Dreamy, gorgeous footage of summertime Indiana and Mississippi lingers on the screen as if it were appearing on the Travel Channel. At one show, Notaro is delivered to a slapdash stage on a tractor driven by a child. "You can keep the camera on me and John doing stand-up, but it wouldn't give the context — seeing the towns, meeting the people — to make you feel like you were there. You wouldn't get as much of a feel. We could be in outer space. Or Los Angeles."
We asked her to share her thoughts on the towns they visited. Click on each map point for her responses: