Music

Tig Notaro: Good One

A nonstop laugh fest, Good One proves that Tig Notaro is one of the funniest comedians currently on the market.


Tig Notaro

Good One

Label: Secretly Canadian
US Release Date: 2011-08-02
Label Website
Artist Website
Amazon
iTunes

You’re at a party when your buddy meets “Someone.” This "Someone" has a friend, and since your buddy already called dibs, you’re forced to play wingman with the friend. Yet surprisingly, this wingman dilemma is atypical of most wingman dilemmas. The friend is seemingly a good catch: skinny, nice smile, and though she wears a boyish haircut, you find it kind of cute because it resembles Tegan Quin (you secretly love the song “Back In Your Head”). However, her personality is scarred by a rather boring disposition, and within five minutes of several interspersed lulls, you begin looking for an out.

Eventually, the host comes over and mingles with “Someone” and your buddy, and you’re able to throw yourself into the circle and scapegoat the quiet companion. Yet that’s when discomfort rockets to its full potential. The friend transforms into a bipedal monster of sarcasm, butting in with dry, snarky comments about the topics at hand, and it causes you to wonder: Where the hell did this just come from?

This situation most likely ranks high on a pet peeve list for the average man. (I say “average” so as to mean Joe Shmo who works a W-2 job and spends 95% of his time performing safe activities. Drug kingpins and Amazon River excavators, for example, probably wouldn’t find this encounter to be such a drag.) Is there not very little worse than being forced into speechless conversation with a monotone and seemingly lifeless person whose also a sarcastic asshole?

Within 30 seconds of Tig Notaro’s act, you wonder if the comedian will be Exhibit A for the above problem. She’s quiet, shy and lacks any excitement toward talking to her crowd. Her voice illustrates a woman completely unsure of herself and feels destined for failure. Any idea she has seems to muddle around in her brain before she speaks, weary of whether it’s even going to resonate with people.

But by a minute in, she does something to make you realize she's not an asshole: She makes you laugh your fucking ass off.

“I hate when people email me and end with ‘Can you believe it?’” Notaro says. “For instance, ‘Katie’s starting kindergarten this year. Can you believe it?’ It’s like, well, your daughter’s following the natural progression of life, so yes, I can believe that. Now if they were to tell me, ‘Katie hasn’t grown an inch since the day she was born. She hasn’t spoken a single word. She’s graduating college this year,’ then that’s when I’d react like, oh my God! No!”

If Jerry Seinfeld got a sex change and delivered his jokes like Mitch Hedberg, you’d have Tig Notaro. Her observational style covers a wide variety of topics, such as the “No Moleste” sign on hotel room doors, Cher’s transsexual daughter-turned-son, and the irony of calling artificial insemination, “artificial.” (“Artificial would be if you put one of those blow-up sponge things in me and nine months later, I’m like, ‘Holy crap. Velociraptor?!’) Her high point, however, is her story about running into ‘80s pop-singer Taylor Dayne numerous times over the course of two years and continually telling her she loves her voice, only to get a different answer every single time. Whether it’s this 12-minute bit or a quick 45-second joke, Notaro hits every single beat with the perfect delivery, taking long pauses to build a bigger laugh or sometimes calling out audience members on their own reactions to her routine.

“I love that you’re actually slapping your knee right now,” she remarks to a guy in the front row. “You look like you just watched cartoons for four hours.”

Minus her blatant desire to perform comedy, Notaro is the complete opposite of a stand-up’s personality. On-stage, her presence never commands any sort of attention; in fact, her entire shtick emanates the exact opposite vibe that you’re wasting your time even listening to anything she has to say. It’s that awkwardness and lack of self-esteem she exudes, though, that makes Notaro one of my favorite comedians on the market. (Perhaps it’s Freudian; let’s find out if Robin Pecknold digs her too.) Unlike most female comedians that treat the art form as an excuse to rant, rave, and throw feminist tantrums, Notaro merely shrugs when a guy tells her she has “little titties.”

“This guy had so many other things he could have said, like, ‘Hello,’ or, (long pause) “I was gonna say something, but I decided not to.’”

It's no suprise Indie label Secretly Canadian (Yeasayer, Antony and the Johnsons) chose Good One to be its first comedy release. The 45-minute set showcases a comedian at her fullest strength whose talent can’t hide her dedication to the craft. No matter how diverse the jokes are, Notaro keeps the flow consistent and doubles you over in laughter. Don’t be offended if she seems unaffected, though. It’s all just a gimmick.

8

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
9

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Alt-rock heroes the Foo Fighters deliver a three-hour blast of rock power that defies modern norms.

It's a Saturday night in Sacramento and the downtown area around the swank new Golden 1 Center is buzzing as if people are waiting for a spaceship to appear because the alt-rock heroes known as the Foo Fighters are in town. Dave Grohl and his band of merry mates have carried the torch for 20th-century rock 'n' roll here in the next millennium like few others, consistently cranking out one great guitar-driven album after another while building a cross-generational appeal that enables them to keep selling out arenas across America.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image