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Tig Notaro: Stand Up (Comedy) to Cancer!

Tig Notaro has been doing stand-up comedy for nearly fifteen years, but it wasn’t until her monumental set at the Largo in 2012, when she opened up about her then-recent breast cancer diagnosis, that she received national acclaim.

Her diagnosis came at perhaps the lowest point of her life; her mother had just died unexpectedly, her partner ended their relationship, and her dream to become a mother seemed like a lost cause. When her own poor health seemed to be on an upswing, that’s when she found the lump.

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Despite the lack of any video recording from her set at the Largo, Tig’s story went viral, and she became one of the most famous stand-up comics on earth.

Louis C.K., a legendary comedian and producer of Tig’s new semi-autobiographical Amazon comedy One Mississippi, tweeted of the set: “In 27 years of doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful stand-up sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.”

With the help of a few other close funny friends, Tig became an overnight sensation without even realizing it.

When Tig opened up about her battle with cancer, her life changed forever. Since then she has released an album, a Netflix documentary, and she is “writing a book very slowly.”

Last November, while working on material for her new HBO special Boyish Girl Interrupted, Tig removed her shirt mid-set and completed her act, double mastectomy scars out for all to see, as if nothing was weird about it at all.

The funniest part: No comedian is brave enough to take off their shirt. Except for Tig.

Here’s her take on her (second) legendary set:

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“You’re alive, so you might as well take chances.” -Tig

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.