Now that I’m a regular habitué of online streaming services, I’m increasingly wading into the murky but usually very time-friendly (given most are around an hour long) subgenre of stand-up comedy sets. One of the recent stars of this scene, who’s been doing the stand-up round for years, is Tig Notaro, though filmically I’d only previously seen her in a small cameo in In a World…. This documentary, however, isn’t just a record of one of her stand-up sets, so much as how that set in August 2012 intersected with her life and those around her in some surprising ways. Those who have seen Louis CK’s TV show, or the film Obvious Child (and if you haven’t, seriously, rectify that) know that stand-ups frequently draw from their own experiences in ways that can sometimes be quite uncomfortable for audiences, and in drawing on her recent diagnosis of breast cancer, Notaro ends up challenging a number of ideas about the disease. The most notable, perhaps, is that she can’t have a baby, and indeed although her body may not be capable of carrying a child anymore, we see her enter a stable relationship and forge forward with plans to have children. Because of its likeable subject, the documentary feels like a relatively easygoing watch despite some tough subject matter, but that’s not to diminish its achievement, and one can only hope for the best for Notaro herself.
Directors Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York; Cinematographer Huy Truong; Length 95 minutes.
Seen at home (Netflix streaming), London, Saturday 31 October 2015.