I set out to learn about Tig Notaro when she appeared on Star Trek: Discovery as the dry, hyper-confident engineer Jet Reno. I love this character so much that I went down the Tig Notaro rabbit hole and discovered she does not disappoint, and is possibly the only person worthy of depicting Jet Reno.
I chose to do the audiobook version of her memoir, in part because I love her dry-Daria like delivery and wish I could truly perfect my like-I-give-a-fuck-about-emoting-monotone like she has. If you do not like this kind of speech pattern, you will not like the audiobook. If you like tales about people who have remarkable perspective and have overcome crazy odds, you will like this book whether you read it or listened to it, are a fan of hers or have never heard of her.
In a nutshell, Tig went through a really bad year when she was hospitalized for a rare bacterial infection, lost her mother in a tragic accident, and got breast cancer resulting in a mandatory double mastectomy. It was also the year she broke through to the mainstream and started to become a comedian people pay money to see; she went viral when she walked on stage and just boldly stated, “Hi! Hello! How’s everyone doing? I have cancer!” and was nominated for a Grammy for the recording of said stunning performance.
Tig is more than all of those things though, and is a deeply measured human who has withstood the pull of fame to clearly maintain a strong sense of herself. She challenges herself regularly by doing work she never thought she’d do, she has the ability to admit her faults, to describe her flawed relationships with her family members, and to be candid about the things that fucked her up but also buoyed her up. As someone going through a career transition, it was incredibly fulfilling to hear Tig discuss her outlook on life and her experiences after a near-death experience.
I really took one particular anecdote to heart and had an “aha!” moment with it. She talks about the moment she realized she didn’t have to stay in school, because she was 17 and no longer legally forced to go to school. She got up and said “I’m going, I’m done with this,” and then just left and never went back to school. She talks about how freeing it was to realize she could just go and stop doing school, and how life would go on and she would find a way. Whether or not she’d become a famous comedian or not, this is the kind of thing that defined her and a hard realization to make and act on.
It’s a well-written account of a life that is lived not in fear of the unknown but in open welcome of it. She’s the perfect person to be on a show about space discovery too.