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What’s particularly spectacular about Notaro’s rise is that she wasn’t known as a personal-journey comedian at the time: she was Steven Wright-ish, with a lone-weirdo affect, doing absurdist bits like pushing a stool around on Conan O’Brien’s show and silly jokes about Chastity Bono’s changing his name to Chaz—“basically he just kept the Chaz and cut off the titty.” But with her set at Largo, she’s transformed herself into a kind of Richard Pryor.“Tig is now in the heads of hundreds of thousands of people who don’t see her as a comic—she’s now their favorite person,” says Ira Glass, host of Louis C.A lesbian who works the soccer-player “boi” look, with a kind, sweet manner that doesn’t seem completely reconciled with her deep-seated self-image as a rebel, Notaro was raised in Pass Christian, Mississippi, and then outside Houston by a gregarious mother and dry-witted stepfather, an attorney.(Tig’s a childhood nickname; her given name is Mathilde.) “My mom was a freethinking artist—she was wild and would do anything to get a laugh from me,” says Notaro.
—her mother’s death, a serious breakup, and breast cancer—into a fearless stand-up set, mesmerizing fans new (Lena Dunham) and old (Louis C. With her career in hyperdrive, she’s trying to find her footing.Has anyone been more up and down this year than Tig Notaro?