Tig Notaro

On this date in 1971, entertainer Mathilde O’Callaghan “Tig” Notaro was born in Jackson, Miss., to Mathilde (O’Callaghan) and Pat Notaro. Her brother Renaud, a year older, started calling her Tig when she was 2. Raised until kindergarten in Pass Christian, Miss., she moved with her family to Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb.

Notaro: “My mother was very free-thinking and I picked up a lot of her sensibilities.” (Mother Jones, June 13, 2016) She hated school and failed three grades before dropping out of high school in ninth grade (getting her GED at age 19).

In the mid-’90s in Denver, she started Tignation Promotions to book and manage bands. That led her to Los Angeles, where she tried stand-up for the first time, while working at restaurants and coffee shops and babysitting to make ends meet. She was featured in 2004 on “Comedy Central Presents.”

She released her debut stand-up album “Good One” in 2011. Her 2012 album “Live” (pronounced “liv”) was a show recorded four days after she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts and had been hospitalized with a debilitating intestinal disease called Clostridioides difficile. (During some shows, she briefly bares her chest to show the results of her double mastectomy.) The Grammy-nominated album focuses on her medical struggles, a relationship breakup and the death of her mother during a four-month period.

Those struggles also brought out some strong feelings about religious faith. Her memoir “I’m Just a Person” (2016) has a chapter titled “God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle” that demolishes that claim:

“Losing my ability to eat food — and more than twenty pounds — as well as losing my mother; losing my breasts; having stitched and scabbed incisions across my chest that made it almost impossible to be hugged or to move; being unable to lift my arms until I was able to rebuild excised muscle tissue; being terrified of dying, and if I lived, of never working again; and going through a breakup while having constant stabbing pains in my gut was, ultimately, more than I could handle.”

But she eventually did recover. Her first stand-up special, “Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted,” was released by HBO in 2015 and later as her third album. She co-wrote, produced and starred in a semi-autobiographical TV pilot called “One Mississippi” in 2015. It received a six-episode series order from Amazon.

A 2015 Netflix movie called “Tig” chronicled her attempts to become pregnant with her fiancée Stephanie Allynne, an actress and comedian. They married that year and welcomed twin sons in 2016, conceived using Allynne’s eggs via a surrogate.

Netflix released Notaro’s second one-hour special, “Happy To Be Here,” in 2018. During the pandemic, she started two podcasts — one called “Don’t Ask Tig,” on which guests answered listener questions, and “Tig and Cheryl: True Story,” co-hosted by actress Cheryl Hines.

Notaro launched her “Hello Again” tour in January 2022. 

PHOTO: Notaro at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International; Gage Skidmore photo under CC 3.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation