Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted (2015) – Transcript

Known for her distinctive storytelling, offbeat sense of humor and honesty, Notaro's deadpan stand-up style draws on highly personal experiences, including a breast-cancer diagnosis and the death of her mother.
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Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted (2015)

(Chattering) (music playing)

(audience cheering)

Thank you. Oh, my gosh. Are you kidding me? My goodness. (Chuckles) Wow, thank you. People are like, “Tig!”

(audience laughs)

“Why are you shooting your special in Boston?”

(audience laughs)

Woman: Whoo!

I’ll tell ya something, my grandfather… was originally from Boston.

(Audience cheers)

And my mother lived in Boston when she was a tiny, little person.

Man: Whoo!

And this rug… Hear me out. This rug I am standing on has been in my family since the 1800s and was in my mother’s house in Boston in the ’40s.

(audience cheers)

Why am I shooting my special… in Boston? I wanted to show you my rug.

(audience laughs)

Why am I shooting my special in Boston? No more stupid questions. (laughs) Please. I performed in Las Vegas and, um, when you do stand-up in Vegas, typically, you have to do an entire week, seven nights in a row, two shows a night. There’s an early show and a late show, and I bombed all 14…

(audience laughs)

…shows. And I’m not a huge drinker and I don’t really gamble, so I didn’t know what to do between the early and late show. So the first night I thought I’d hang out in my hotel room, but it was so far away from the venue that I only had enough time to walk back to my room… stand like this for two minutes… and then head back to the Comedy Club. The rest of the time, I thought, “I’ll just sit in the back corner of the club,” hang out between the shows, “and just kill time having a glass of water.” I’m sitting there and my agent calls me to tell me that the venue called him to say that they thought it was weird…

(audience laughs)

…that I was just sitting in the back corner… and could I please leave and go find something else to do. So, again, I’m sitting there, my phone rings, I’m like, “Hey, what’s going on?” (audience laughs) “Oh. Okay.” So humiliating! It’s not like that call came from some far-off headquarters someplace. That call came from inside the club. I’m certain the guy was looking through a little window staring at me with disgust on his face. Just like, “Ugh, tell her to get out of here.” Yeah, I’m sick of looking at her face.” I still didn’t know where to go or what to do. So I took the escalator down to the first floor and there’s an ice cream shop down there. And I’m an adult. I just… personally, I don’t sit alone in ice cream shops just…

(audience laughs)

And let me be certain… to not use… the object that is the exact shape… of an ice cream cone.

(Audience laughing)

So I finished my ice cream cone, I took the escalator back up, I did the final show, and, of course, I bombed. I got offstage. I shook hands with the audience members. And they were just like… “We hate you.” I was like, “Feeling is mutual.” I said goodbye to the other comedians. They hated me, too. Then I went into the office and got paid. Then I walked all the way back to my hotel room. I put my pajamas on. I had little pigs flying all over my pants. I looked so adorable. It was like my one tiny victory for the whole week. And then I went into the bathroom to brush my tooth. And that’s when I caught my reflection in the mirror and saw that I had a full-blown chocolate mustache on my face. I was like, “No!” My brain starts replaying everything that had just happened to me. I was onstage for an entire hour… bombing… with a chocolate mustache on my face. And then remember all up close and personal, I was… Not one person… was like, “Oh.” You have…” “You…” Uh-uh, nobody told me. And then I went into the office to get paid… by the guy that I am certain made that original phone call telling me to please leave and go find something else to do. Guess who found something else to do?

Woman: Whoo!

Me. I did. I went and treated myself to a little chocolate ice cream. What is my problem? I am six years from 50. Can I not just glance in the mirror before I go onstage? What is my to-do list every night? Belly full of ice cream. Check. Head onstage.

(audience laughs)

What did the owner of the club think as I sat there across the desk in a tiny office with a chocolate mustache on my face? A grown woman… wanting to get paid for 14 bombed shows. Holding out my little paw. Did he think that I just grabbed an ice cream cone out of the hand of a small child, slammed it in my own face, hopped back up onstage? Not so funny anymore, is it, Vegas? I’m nuts. Or did he think that I was trying to disguise myself… with a fake mustache, trying to sneak back into the venue he had kicked me out of? Sorry, this bit goes as long as whatever stage I’m on. (Whistling) Oh, great, there’s stairs. (Groans) Guys, relax! Relax, I’m just a person. What if somebody walked into the show right now… and they didn’t recognize me? “I thought Tig was supposed to be taping her special.” Where did she go? “Where’s Tig?” Guys, it’s me. It’s me. It’s me. Uh, where did Tig go? Where did Tig go? Where did Tig go? Let me see your little belly. Where did Tig go? Oh, there I am. Oh, you guys are dumb. Oh, my gosh. As a comedian, people always ask me what makes me laugh really hard. And, um, I was making a video one time. Just like a funny sketch with a friend of mine where at the end he ends up in a bathtub with Santa Claus. And there are websites that you can go on and find your perfect, ideal Santa, click on him, hire him for all your Santa Claus needs. We could not find the perfect Santa Claus. And he said, “Do you mind if we take a break” and go to McDonald’s so I can get a couple hamburgers? “And then we’ll come back.” And I said, “Man, whatever you need.” We go through the drive-thru, he gets his hamburgers. He said, “I cannot wait to eat these.” Do you mind if we just sit here “and I eat ’em and then we go back?” I said again, “Whatever you need.” So he backs his car into this space and we’re now looking out over the entire McDonald’s parking lot and I see this woman off in the distance acting utterly insane. And I said, “What do you think she’s doing?” And he said, “I don’t know, but I’m gonna film her.” He gets his phone out, he presses record, and you guys are me and him in the car looking through the windshield. The second he pressed record, a boat of a car drove past us and a man turned and it was Santa Claus. And I yelled, “Oh, my God, it’s Santa Claus!” And he yelled, “Oh, my God, do you think he’ll talk to us?” And then he shut off the phone, we peel out and just haul ass chasing Santa Claus down the street. And we come up next to him at the light and I realize in that moment I hadn’t thought about what I was gonna say when we caught him. And I said, “Hi.” Um, you know who you look like, right?” And he said, “Santa Claus.” And I said, “Yes.” I said, “My friend and I are making a video” and we wanted to hire you to be in it.” He hands me his business card and as he’s driving off I look at it and it said his name at some very conservative church dot-org. And I said, “Oh, man.” This guy is not gonna get into a bathtub with you.” Or maybe he will. So we drive off feeling defeated and then I start thinking about that video from earlier. And I started laughing. And I asked him to pull the car over to play it back for us and he said, “Why?” And I said, “Because I feel confident” that we captured the most ridiculous footage “since the beginning of time.” And then he started thinking about it and then we were both hunched over laughing so hard, hyperventilating, crying, trying to push each other away from each other. We were laughing so hard, we both became ugly people. And we still hadn’t even seen the video yet. And then he pulls the car over and he presses play and you don’t see that woman off in the distance. It’s like she was never a part of this. The second he pressed play, the only thing that you see… is a boat of a car driving past us and a man turning… and you hear me earnestly… yell, “Oh, my God, it’s Santa Claus!” And you see my hand just dart up into the video. And then you hear my friend, a full-grown man, yell, “Oh, my God, do you think he’ll talk to us?” And then it just shuts out. If anybody came across that video footage with zero backstory, it truly appears as though two full-grown buffoons… thought that they saw Santa Claus. And what is my friend’s history with Santa Claus… that his response… would be, “Oh, my God, do you think he’ll talk to us?” Just an entire lifetime of him running up to Santa only to be met with… But Santa…

I love everybody’s little laugh noises. My favorite laugh noise is, um, the sigh after the laugh. The… (sighs) (laughs) (sighs) ‘Cause it’s like you’re reminiscing about one second ago. (laughs) (sighs) Remember one second ago? (Sighs) Yeah, that was a good time. Yeah. My other favorite laugh noise is the pig snort. You know, when somebody is just really enjoying themselves. And then… (snorts) Because I’m always curious, is that something they decided to do? Like a calculated decision. Or are they just as surprised as we are… when a pig snort flies out of their face? I like to think it’s the other option where they’re just like, “You know what?” I have been laughing… and smiling… and clapping all night, but I still feel like she doesn’t get… how much I get her. Think I’m gonna go ahead and snort like a pig. Yeah, this, uh… This story she’s telling, this is actually one of my favorites I was telling… “Oh, hold on one second.” (snorts) “Love your stuff.” (snorts)

My dream situation is actually the… At the end of the night when the lights go on that there is an actual pig in the audience. Just out on the town, pantless, clanking its little cloven hooves together. Sitting on its little curlicue. Comes up to me at the end of the night, “Hey, um, that was me.” I, uh… I can’t laugh, so I snort. Sure, I can talk… but I wanted to say I really liked that part earlier when you were talking about having little pigs on your pants. Anyway, I don’t wanna keep you, I just… I really just wanted to say… I just wanted to say pig fan, pig fan. Boston, that’s a terrible joke. I’m sorry. (laughs) Sorry, I’m just up here being a ham and I… I’m sor… That’s too much, you’re right. (chuckles) Too many puns eventually becomes a “boar” and I don’t wanna… Don’t shake your head at me. I will reimburse you. I am sorry. I’m originally from Mississippi. Man: Whoo! Um… (audience laughs) Settle down, everyone. I’m originally from Mississippi and, um, my fiancée is, um… (audience cheering) Thank you. Um… He is from…

(audience laughs)

Okay. She was raised in Los Angeles and New York and I invited her back to Mississippi to spend the holidays with me and my extended family. And before the trip, she said, um, “No offense, but…” And I said, “Yes, what is this flattering thing you’re about to say?” She said, “When I picture people from Mississippi”, I picture them barefoot.” Thank you. And I said, “Okay, I get it, but, um,” my family is civilized. They have homes and jobs and shoes, “but I hear ya.” So I was down there hanging out before she arrived, and when you fly in to visit my town, you fly in to the New Orleans airport. And all 11 of my family members piled into a van to drive into the French Quarter to hang out, wait until she arrived. And I finally was like, “Oh, yeah, she’s gonna be landing soon.” We gotta go.” All 11 of them piled back into the van with their beers… I don’t know if you know, but it is legal down there to have open containers in vehicles. They all get in. They also brought a cooler iced down with extra beer just for the drive to the airport. I offered to be the sober driver, not that anybody in my family cared either way. They were just like, “Okay, nerd.” So we pull up curbside at baggage claim and I get out and say, “I will be right back.” I go in, I find her. We’re walking out chatting. She looks up… and she said, “Is that your family?” I look up and all 11 of them have gotten out of the van. They’re smoking and drinking, they’re waving wildly, so excited to meet her. They’ve pulled the cooler out onto the sidewalk. And they were barefoot. After walking around the French Quarter all day, they took their shoes off on the drive to get her. So there I was… having to say, “Yes,” that is my civilized family… that I told you about. “There they are in all of their glory.” So we have the holidays, Christmas, whatever, she and I are driving out of town together and, uh, I asked her if, uh…

A couple years ago my mother passed away and we buried her in our hometown in Mississippi and I asked if we could go visit her grave. And she said of course. And just to back up a little more, when my stepfather and I were driving away from the funeral, he told me, “When your mother died,” they were offering a really good deal on burial plots. I ended up getting six “for a thousand dollars.” He said, “I got one for your mother,” I got one for me, I got one for you, I got one for your brother, “and then I got two extras.” Man: Whoo! I said, “That is serious bargain shopping” just to toss in two extra burial plots.” And he said, “Well, I thought I would get those” in case you or your brother, if you had partners one day.” And I said, “Oh, well, thank you, but still…” So my girlfriend and I pull up to the graveyard, we get out of the car… we walk over, we’re standing there. She’s looking around. She said, “This is really beautiful.” She said, “So is it just… Is it just this right here?” And I said, “Well…” (exhales) “That’s the thing, um…” When my mother died, they were offering a really good deal. Six plots for a thousand dollars. So my stepfather… my mother, she’s just buried right here, but he got hers, and then one for him, he got one for me, he got one for my brother. And then, um… He got two extras… in case we had partners. So, um… I guess, um… I guess that’s where you’ll be gay buried. Barefoot in Mississippi, “just like you always imagined.” She thought it was some twisted marriage proposal. After my mother passed away, I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer, um, but I have not told anybody yet.

(Audience laughs)

You’re the first people to find out. Wow, that’s a very cold response. (Sighs) I ended up having a double mastectomy, and, um, before my surgery, I was already relatively flat-chested. And, uh, I made so many jokes over the years about how small my boobs were that I started to think that maybe my boobs overheard me… and were just like, “Pfft.” You know what? We’re sick of this. “Let’s kill her.” I’m always thrown off by the clapping. Whoo, take her down! I did a show where this woman sat front row with her arms crossed shaking her head at me. And I said, “Is there something wrong?” And she said, “You should end your jokes with ‘I’m just kidding.'” Oh, right, right. I don’t know why I never thought about that. That is a great idea. I’m just kidding. I’m not kid… I really did have cancer, I just… I don’t really think that my boobs were conspiring to kill me. That I’m kidding about. (Sighs) Yeah. Oh, we remember. Before I had my double mastectomy, I, um… I would sometimes be mistaken for a man. And, um, that’s fine. But then after the surgery, it went up a bit. I was going through security at the airport and, um… they said, “Female assist,” which means they have to have a female officer pat me down extra. And so this woman comes over and she comes in, just… And I didn’t have reconstructive surgery. I just… She was like… (audience laughs) She didn’t feel a boob or… a bra or anything. And she said, “Hold on a second.” And she walked only maybe this far away. And she whispered something to the other officer. And I just heard him say, “Yes, I’m positive.”

(audience laughs)

So she comes back over and she’s like… But this time she stopped before she touched me and she looked up… at my face… She really took it in. But apparently, that was not helpful at all. And she said, “Hold on a second.”

(audience laughing)

She walks back over and whispers something again to the officer and he just says, “Yes.” And the thing is, I knew exactly what was happening and I knew that all I needed to do was speak… and then she would know that I was female. But I just did not wanna help her out…

(audience laughing)

Man: Whoo!

(audience cheering)

…at all. I was enjoying the awkwardness so much. I just loved standing there like… She finally came back over and said, “You’re good.” And I walked off saying, (imitates deep voice) “Uh, thank you. Thank you very much.” Oh, my gosh, you guys are so nice. I, um… have really been s…

(audience catcalls)

Do not tempt me. (audience laughs) I will do it. I will… I will…

(audience cheering)

Guys… guys, no.

(Audience cheering)

Of course I’m not gonna take my shirt off on my sp…

(audience groans, cheers)

(man whistling)

No.

(Audience cheering)

Woman: Whoo!

So… (man whistling) I’ll tell you, I, uh… I am afraid to fly and I… I am. Sure, laugh all you want, but I… I’m very afraid to fly and I went on a plane that seated maybe only six people. And you c… It was so tiny that you could only kind of crouch to get through the plane. And, um… oh, my God, it was so small. And once we got to our cruising altitude, we’re flying along and the pilot, who’s just sitting right there, he’s just like, “Hey, how’s it going?” And, um… (laughs) You do your thing, I’ll do mine. He gets out of his seat and just is like, “Let me show you where the emergency toilet is.” And I said, “I’ll decide where the emergency toilet is.”

(audience laughing)

“How about here? How about this is the emergency toilet?” Or how about right here? This could be the emergency toilet. How about anywhere I decide is the emergency toilet? This entire flight feels like an emergency. Just one huge emergency toilet flying through the air. Now go sit back down, you joker. “Don’t you worry about the emergency toilet.” I love on, um, commercial flights when, um, you’re seated in the emergency exit row and the flight attendant’s like, “You know, just wondering” if in the event of an emergency, “you’d be willing to help out.” And I’m like, “Pfft…” Totally. If you need anything, you come grab me. But I was just wondering if maybe we could wait and see what kind of shape I’m in after the plane plummets 30,000 feet. ‘Cause I don’t even know if I’m gonna be sitting here anymore. “But absolutely, you come grab me if you need anything.” Are they really gonna hold me to that? Where’s that woman from 12 E? Where’s that guy from 12 E? Nah, he said he’d help us out. I’m just off in the distance gathering my own body parts. Did somebody need something? I did give a verbal confirmation, so… Carrying my own head in my hand. Yeah, just let me know what I can do for ya. Oh, man, flying, huh?

(Audience cheering)

I’ve been traveling around so much and, um, I’ve noticed in the States… I haven’t really noticed it so much overseas anywhere, but in the US I’ve noticed these signs showing up at public pools. And, um, I’m sure plenty of you have seen these, and they say that you cannot go swimming if you have diarrhea. Raise your hand if you’ve seen these signs. Yes, these are actual signs. And my question is how frequently was this happening? But, more importantly, how confident of a person do you have to be… to be like, “Oh, man.” Oh, man.” (exhales) “I do not feel well.” Doctor said I should definitely stay home. Stick near the toilet. “But you know what?”

(audience laughs)

“I’m gonna head down to the public pool.” Go swim around. “With full blown diarrhea.” They’re just like, “Hey! Out of the pool!” Me? Yeah, you can’t swim with diarrhea. Oh, so this is a problem? Yeah, gotta get out of the pool. Listen… if you don’t want me swimming with diarrhea, then you’re gonna need to hang up a sign. Otherwise, there’s just no possible way… (chuckles) I would know better. So until that goes… Thank you so much. No, no, no, no. I’m not… I’m not leaving, I’m not leaving. I have a weird delivery. It…

(audience laughing)

I’ve had it my whole life, my whole career. Sounds like I’m leaving, but I’m just saying thank you. It’s kind of like you guys really got that, thanks! (Sighs) I have a gift for you all. Uh, something that brings me a lot of joy in my life. I wanna give it to you so that you can experience the happiness that I do. I love… sending text messages to friends of mine at random times of the day that just say, “What’s your ETA?” I just love knowing that somewhere across town somebody is half-naked frantically rifling through emails and text messages trying to figure out what they agreed to do with me. And they write back, “What?” And then write back, “Yeah, we’re all seated. Better hurry.” And then they write back, “Where?” And then don’t respond. Ever again. Cut them out of your life. Delete them from your phone. Just move on. It was time. It was time and you both knew it. Thank you!

(audience laughs)

Thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming out tonight. (Sighs) I’ve been doing stand-up for almost 20 years now and… every show I’ve ever done… whether it was a coffee shop, an open mic, a sold-out theater, a college, a club, every single show I’ve ever done, I’ve gotten a standing ovation.

(audience laughing)

Oh, sure, laugh all you want. Even in Vegas I got 14 standing ovations. You might be thinking, “I had a good time tonight, but not like… not ‘standing ovation’ good time.” Everybody thinks that. Everybody thinks that and then sure enough, the show ends and everyone jumps to their feet and they’re yelling, “Tig!” We love you! “This is the best comedy show we’ve ever seen in our lives.” And I’m just like, “I’m just a person. Please be seated.” And they won’t. And that goes on for three minutes every single time. So I’m just giving you a heads up what’s to come.

(Audience laughing)

I love music.

(Audience laughing)

I’ve never detected a punch line there. Maybe I should listen more.

(Man laughing loudly)

Sounded like a cartoon character showed up. (Imitates laughing) I like your style, ha, ha, ha! That was funny, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I can barely take this, I’m laughing so hard. Ha, ha, ha! That’s all I wanted, to laugh. I do… I do love music and, um, I would constantly write down all the lyrics to every Beatles song. Like put the record on, take the needle off, and write the lyrics down, put the needle back on. Just every song. Obsessed. And my grandmother ended up having Alzheimer’s and she collected anything that we touched growing up. And towards the end of her life when I was an adult, she called me into her bedroom. And she pulled out this box and this paper. She said, “You wrote this for me “when you were little.”

(audience laughing)

And it was “When I’m 64.” And I had to sit there and take credit… for a Lennon and McCartney tune. I was like, “Oh, that’s right. I forgot about that one.” (chuckles) “You like that, huh?” If so, I have a huge catalogue of other… “Other songs I think you might like.” In sixth grade, I took a music class and, um, we were lectured about anywhere from The Who to Beethoven. We played instruments, we read books. And at the end of every session, the teacher would always ask if somebody had a favorite song they wanted to play. And I always brought in Beatles and Rolling Stones songs. And one day, the coolest kid in the entire school… His name was J.D… And he came…

(audience chuckles)

Oh, that’s funny to you? That is a child’s name. A child that is 44 now, but it’s still a child’s name. What is your name? Chris. Chris. The coolest kid in the entire school…

(audience laughing)

…was named Chris. How does that feel? Doesn’t feel good, does it, Chris? No. J.D. came up to me after class and he said, “If I bring in” one of my dad’s Rolling Stones records, “will you tell me the coolest song on the album to play?” And I said, “Pfft…” No question.” The next day, J.D. brought in his dad’s Rolling Stones album “Let It Bleed.” And I looked it over… and I picked this song and said, “This is the coolest song on the album.” And it was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” And he said, “Are you positive” that this is the best song, “the coolest song on the album?” I was like, “Man, I couldn’t be more positive.” And then the teacher asked if anyone had brought in their favorite song to play. And J.D. raised his hand and she called on him. And that’s when everybody in sixth grade heard the coolest kid in the entire school play this.

♪ I saw her today at the reception ♪

J.D. was like, “What the hell is this?”

(audience laughing)

And I was like, “No, no, it gets better.”

♪ I knew she would meet her connection ♪
♪ At her feet was a footloose man ♪
♪ No, you can’t always get what you want ♪
♪ You can’t always get what you want ♪
♪ You can’t always get what you want ♪
♪ But if you try sometime ♪
♪ You’ll find ♪
♪ You can get what you need… ♪

And then the bell rang.

(audience laughing)

Boston, thank you so much.

(audience cheering)

You’re such a great audience. What? I told you. Please, be seated. Please, be seated. I’m just a person. I’m just a person. Touch me. I’m just a person. Please, be seated. Please, be seated. No, I’m just a person. Touch me. Thank you so much, really. Just two more minutes. Please, be seated. I’m just a person. I’m just a person. That person said, “I know, I know.”

(audience laughs)

What do you mean, “you know”? “I know.” Nobody’s shaking their fist.

Boston. Settle down. I’m just a person. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Good night.

(Music playing)

(music ends)

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