Tig Notaro takes a subtle approach to comedy. So subtle, in fact, on her new DVD, Have Tig At Your Party, she literally just stares at viewers for an hour in hopes of blending in with partygoers. (Sort of like those burning log videos, but with her face).
“Think about how painful it would be to stand still for an hour and stare into a camera,” she says. “Painful, I tell you.”
For years Notaro has made the rounds on both the comedy festival and late-night talk show circuits, and starred in a slew of TV gigs— Last Comic Standing, her own half hour Comedy Central Presents, Dog Bites Man and a recurring role on the short-lived ABC sitcom In the Motherhood with Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines. Though she may be best known as “Officer Tig,” the object of Sarah Silverman’s brief, pseudo-lesbian affection on The Sarah Silverman Program.
Currently, you can hear Notaro discuss various philosophical and scientific topics each week with friends, fellow comedians and co-hosts Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger on her new podcast, Professor Blastoff.
Are there any science-related issues that Notaro happens to be particularly knowledgeable about?
“No, not a single one,” she admits. “That’s why I’m on there asking questions. I’m curious about the topics that David and Kyle seem to know more about.”
So far the trio have tackled deja vu, the afterlife, DNA and the inner-workings of a beehive with Parks and Recreation ’s Nick Offerman, just one of the Big Time friends she’s made in the comedy circuit over the years. Most notably, Ms. Silverman, who Notaro met roughly a decade ago while they were performing a show together in New York City.
“She got my number and called me to go to lunch a couple days later, and I haven’t seen her since,” she jokes.
In reality, the two have just teamed up—along with Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer Erin O’Malley—to shoot a TV pilot based on her monthly live talk/variety show in L.A, Tig Has Friends.
If the show goes to series (and all indications are that it will), each week Notaro would interview different movie and TV casts, bands, comedians, etc. “I interview everyone in a ridiculous way—nothing about their latest project or who they’re dating,” she says. “Then I go into the audience and do a Q&A where the audience gets to ask the questions that I didn’t care about.”
All of her guests are also required to perform some sort of hidden talent, whether it be doing a back flip, singing or balancing spoons on their face.
For the first episode, she was fortunate enough to get to sit down with the cast of Mad Men. Since the show hasn’t officially been picked up yet, Notaro can’t say what other “friends” might make an appearance, but she’s crossing her fingers for Nancy Reagan.
Any other dream guests in mind?
“Shesh, I don’t know,” she says. “Is it really possible to dream beyond Nancy Reagan?”
Tig Notaro performs Wed., July 13-Sat., July 16, 8pm and 10:30pm. $10-$17. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com