Tig Notaro’s album Live (pronounced as in, “continue to be alive”) starts with the frank greeting “I have cancer.” The audience is split with the weird opening and only a few people laugh. She has to say it a few more times before people really accept it: alt comedian Tig Notaro is about to do a stand-up set about her very recent cancer diagnosis.
That doesn’t exactly seem like a barrel of laughs, but what unfolds over the next 30 minutes is one of the best and most important stand-up sets of the past decade. She approaches her situation with humor, honesty, and bravery. You won’t be quoting this set to your friends (in fact, you might come across sounding a bit callus if you do), but it’s an amazing work of art in its entirety. Live is like a classic album that is hard to pick off just a song or two and have them maintain their strength.
Tig Notaro Live is out now on CD and picture-disc LP