Tig Notaro Is Cancer-Free and Wants to Tell Jokes in Your Living Room

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

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You've appeared on a lot of great TV shows like Community, The Office and The Sarah Silverman Program. What's been your favorite acting experience so far?

I loved doing Sarah's show, but I was on a stupid stupid sitcom called In The Motherhood. It was just so dumb, and it was one of those bittersweet things where you're on primetime TV and making more money than cable, but it's just so embarrassing. I remember putting an episode in my DVD player and just going, "Oh no. Oh no." But it was really fun to do because I was friends with so many of the cast members.

Cheryl Hines was on the show and she and I are friends and we had this moment where it was really a problem how much we were laughing. The director had to ask her to please leave the set, because she couldn't pull herself together and she kept blaming it on me. So that was kind of a weird curveball that was a lot of fun.

I understand you're working on a book now as well. Is it going to be a memoir?

It is. It's about my life falling apart in this four-month period. I'm just sort of writing about that and spinning off from there and explaining who my mother was and my childhood, but it's sort of rooted in that four-month period of time.

What's the process been like so far? Are you enjoying it?

It's a whole different thing. Writing a book is so much different than stand-up or anything I've ever done. It's such a slower process, but it's good. It's been therapeutic for me and I'm enjoying it.

There's also a documentary being made about me and they made me an executive producer, but it's not the same as the Showtime project. They're just following my life a year after everything falling apart.

You sound pretty healthy at the moment. Are you in remission now?

I'm in remission. It's been I guess 9 months. I opted not to do chemo. They felt like they got all of the cancer and so I said I didn't want to do chemo and decided to do this other type of treatment. I just didn't want to do more damage to my body.

Do you have any advice for people that might be going through a similar experience?

Go to Largo and do a show. I don't know. All I remember is just breathing in and out and telling myself to stay alive, kind of really basic one foot in front of the other and move forward slowly but surely. I really had so many things piled on top of the other that I couldn't even isolate one moment and say this is how I got out of this particular thing because it was all happening at the same time. All I could do was just move forward slowly and just breathe in and out. I don't know how I got through it. I really don't.

Do you think you would've handled it differently had you been considerably younger or older?

For sure. It was so hard to lose my mother at 41 that I don't know how I would've done it. When I hear about people losing their mother when they're in their teen years, I really don't know how people do it. And if I was diagnosed with cancer on top of that and had other issues threatening my life, if I were younger I really don't know. I think I would've lost it.

The tough thing about a situation like that is you never know when it's going to be completely over.

My situation could've been different and lasted longer if I had done chemo. They were originally suggesting chemo and radiation and everything, but I feel good about the decisions I've made and they feel like I'm in good shape.

Tig Notaro appears at the Grammy Museum tonight at 8 p.m. for a live Q&A. Tickets are $20. Notaro also performs at Largo on Aug. 3 for Tig Has Friends, featuring special guests. Tickets are $25.

Follow me on Twitter at @franknbeats, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

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