'Tig': Sundance Review

Courtesy of Tig
Heartfelt doc on comedian Tig Notaro

A stirring documentary on comedian/survivor Tig Notaro.

Only Job has suffered more plagues than Tig.  A joyous tribute to stand-up comic Tig Notaro, whose indefatigable comic spirit vanquished major personal and physical calamities, Tig delighted a Sundance audience in its premiere here.

It’s an up-close and extremely personal look at the stand-up comic whose deadpan style and Jack Benny-pauses have attracted an exuberant national following.  Like many humorists, Tig Notaro distilled pain into comedy.  In her case, the pain was not mere annoyance at politics and religions — it was both physical and psychological.  While her career was taking off, she suffered numerous seemingly knock-out blows: a raging digestive virus, the death of her mother and then, breast cancer.

Each likely would have done in a less powerful spirit, but in this remarkable, insightful film, we see how her comic outlook and personal vitality allowed her to overcome each blow.  We see her abject lows, in which all indicators determined that she was doomed, and we see her triumphs, only to be blasted again. She stood up with her stand-up: “Good evening, I have cancer,” was her new opening line.

Radiating around a heart-breaking/heart-warming performance she gave in 2012, in which she announced her condition, the film intersperses her daily struggles — doctor’s visits, family travails and everyday frustrations. Throughout, filmmakers Kristina Gooldsby and Ashley York have created a stirring picture of a resilient and loveable person.

It’s an inspiring, radiant film driven by Tig Notaro’s unflappable, funny and triumphant spirit. In perfect aesthetic respect, the film is well-calibrated and bounces along in a jaunty, indomitable pace that is reflective of Tig Notaro’s life and remarkable comebacks.

Directors: Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York
Screenwriter: Jennifer Arnold
Producers: Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York, Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtletaub
Executive Producers: Tig Notaro, Leah Holzer, Hunter Seidman, Tim Foley
Cinematographer: Huy Truong
Editors: Scott Evans, May Manhardt
Music: Ryan Miller

No Rating. 90 minutes