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Far from ordinary, Tig Notaro brings unique perspective on stage and screen

Far from ordinary, Tig Notaro brings unique perspective on stage and screen

Tig Approved Photo 8.16.598cabdf8df85
Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin
ALMOST FICTION: Tig Notaro

The Tabernacle is an Atlanta icon. It takes a special kind of artist to fill the former-church/current entertainment venue but, of course, Tig Notaro is anything but average. The deadpan comedian headlined for years around the country, put out a half-hour special on Comedy Central and an album on the Secretly Canadian label. For comedy nerds, she's been a superstar for years, but her name blew up into the stratosphere after her infamous set at Largo in Los Angeles in 2013. Released as the album Live, the 30ish minute set was a revelation as Notaro shared with the world the hardest few weeks of her life battling a dangerous infection, followed by a cancer diagnosis and the unexpected loss of her mother. Four years later, Notaro continues to wow audiences on stage with her astute observational material and personal anecdotes, as well as on screen via her semi-autobiographical Amazon series, "One Mississippi", the show follows Notaro going back to her family home in Mississippi after her mother's passing and returns for its second season September 8.

CL recently talked to Notaro on what to expect from season two of her show, as well as her upcoming stand-up performance at the Tabernacle.

Your show, "One Mississippi," is coming back to Amazon next month. What's in store for season two?

Everyone in the family has fallen out of the rubble of what had happened, the destruction and everything, and there's some love stories and just joining up with life again to the best of their ability, is what I'd say. I'd say there's a lot more honesty, all the while being even more fictional than ever.

Being semi-autobiographical, what was it like to essentially relive parts of your past in front of a TV crew?

It was therapeutic and also really interesting. Like I said, a lot of it's fictional, so it was interesting to put myself in situations that I actually hadn't lived through or experienced and just kind of see how I would potentially feel or how things might go in this world that we created. We had a really great crew that made it so easy to do whatever we wanted. They were just all so supportive and loved the show ... it's really quite a group that we were on set with day-to-day.

I imagine that the writing process is much different versus a typical sitcom in which everything is 100 percent fictional. What's the process like working with a staff of writers about something that is so personal?

It's really so great because you can have just a shred of an idea I pitch out a lot of different ideas to the room and let them know what I'd like to talk about or something from my life. And then I have five other people in the room that are adding to that. Here's somebody that experienced something similar and then we just build upon the idea and it's really a fascinating process.

Sometimes we'll get halfway down the road and realize that, structurally, a storyline might not work right and we'll have to pull it out completely or rearrange it. Like Casey Wilson, who plays my girlfriend Brooke, she wasn't available for one particular storyline so we had to rewrite the show knowing that she actually wasn't available. She was doing something else. It's funny, people will respond like, "That's so stupid they didn't use Casey more." People don't realize how much is teetering on so many different people, actors; there's just so many different elements that go into making the show and writing and the different storylines you keep and have to toss out.

The series is set in Mississippi, is it filmed there as well?

We film all of the interior moments in Los Angeles on a soundstage and then all the exterior scenes we filmed in Louisiana. We're based out of New Orleans, the production is based out of New Orleans somewhere down there but we shoot in different areas of Louisiana.

You're coming to Atlanta this weekend to perform at the Tabernacle. What can people expect from your show?

I have a lot of new material. I have a whole new hour of material. It's a lot of storytelling and a lot of jokes, and then I have just a whole chunk of nonsense, ridiculousness that brings me a lot of joy to do on stage. There's kid and family material. There's a decent mix of things that hopefully people will enjoy.

Not as many comics have stark changes in tone within their sets. Your past material has featured both lighter fare as well as darker, more personal material. How do you find a balance between the two when putting together an hour?

I truly just do whatever I wanna do ... stand-up is so much like conversation a lot of times, and when you're talking, your brain jumps around and you share different things. Even if something might be touching on a dark topic, there's gonna be a comedic element to it because that's what I'm there to do make people laugh. I just jump around as it feels right and I don't worry too much about how it's gonna go. I feel like it's kind of proven itself over and over that it's usually gonna go alright. Obviously, sometimes I don't have my best performance of a lifetime, but I don't worry too much about light-hearted things and dark things being side-by-side.

What's next on the horizon for you?

Raising babies, I've been working hard on that. I'm working towards taping my next comedy special. And then I have a thing that's a big exciting project coming up that I can't talk about yet, but I'll be excited to announce that as soon as I'm allowed.

Tig Notaro plays Sun., Aug. 13. $33. 7:30 p.m. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W. 404-659-9022. www.tabernacleatl.com.


 



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