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7 Quick Questions for Tig Notaro

Comedian is keeping busy with stand-up, podcasting and parenthood


spinner image tig notaro against blue ombre background
Photo Collage: MOA; (Source: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress, author, podcaster and comedian Tig Notaro, 52, seems to be popping up everywhere these days. You can hear her chatting on her weekly Handsome podcast, watch her live on tour as a stand-up comedian, or see her acting on screen in Season 3 of the popular Apple TV+ series The Morning Show. Notaro tells AARP how it felt joining the cast, if her kids are following in her comedy footsteps and how she’s taking care of herself in her 50s.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Was being an actress your goal when you started in stand-up?

No. It is a weird thing because with stand-up, sometimes you end up going in that direction and sometimes you don’t. I honestly can’t believe I’m somebody that has continued to be asked back. I’m not saying that to be searching for compliments or reassurance. I’m truly, genuinely very open with my shortcomings when I’m on stage. I’m open to as much direction — any feedback is helpful to me — because, especially in a drama, I’m so used to hearing laughter as a comedian that it’s hard for me to gauge. It’s a little confusing to just say a line that doesn’t end with a punch.

spinner image tig notaro with three other castmates in a still from the morning show
Notaro plays the role of Amanda Robinson on Season 3 of “The Morning Show.”
Apple TV+

Was it intimidating to join a show in its third season — especially one filled with Hollywood A-listers?

It is the most — just as you said — star-powered, high-profile show. But the weird twist is that I know and have known Reese [Witherspoon] and Jen [Aniston] and Jon Hamm and Mark Duplass and all of these people for years. So it was one of the least, I don’t know, threatening or uncomfortable or intimidating [experiences]. It was actually a really nice experience. And I don’t always feel terribly comfortable in acting, and so that’s helpful always to feel comfortable, obviously. ​

How did you already know them?

Well, I’ve known Jon since before he was Jon Hamm, through socializing. We just ran in the same circle. That’s why it’s so funny when people say, “Oh my gosh, what was it like? I couldn’t believe I was seeing you on camera with Jon Hamm.” I was telling Jon that the other day, and he said, “Did you tell [them] it was just another Tuesday?” Reese, I met her socially as well. And then she hired me on Your Place or Mine, the movie that she did with Netflix. So I was on that. And then Jen, I met at a wedding. And she had her agent reach out to mine saying she wanted to work together on something. My wife [actress Stephanie Allynne] and I wrote a script that we reached out to Jen for that she attached herself to. We sold it to Netflix, but then during the pandemic, that was one of those casualties that disappeared. We’ve remained close friends since then. She had actually told me I was gonna be on the second season of The Morning Show, and I was so excited. And then my reps reached out and they were like, “Oh, they went in a different direction.” When I found out I was coming in on the third season, I didn’t quite trust it.

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What do you see yourself doing if your comedic career hadn’t worked out?

I was telling my kids [7-year-old twin boys] and my wife that I would probably deliver pizzas. And they’re like, “Why? Why would you deliver pizzas?” And I said, “Well, because I used to do that. And I’ll tell you why it’s a great job. First of all, you get to leave the work environment. Second of all, you get to be in your car and listen to your music. Third of all, you get to smell pizza in your car. And then, finally, when you deliver the pizza, you get cold hard cash in your hand.” My wife told me she would be the person that raises and lowers the bridge when a ship comes through, [then she could] read all day.

You’ve also done quite a bit of podcasting. What’s different between being off camera versus working on camera?

Oh my gosh, everything’s so different. And meanwhile, podcasts are going on camera now. So many are on YouTube. In fact, my podcast is about to launch our YouTube channel. I love finding the right people that you want to talk to, and talking about the particular topics you want to talk to. You feel like you are capturing a fly-on-the-wall type vibe, and then it always surprises me what people think is funny.

Are your kids funny?

Well, they’re the odd couple. My son Finn is type A personality, and he watches the clock. He has a schedule he has to be on, and he forces it on his twin brother, where he’s like, “Max, we gotta go up and take a bath now. It’s getting late.” And Max is like, “Oh, God, I wanted to watch Pokémon.” I’ll tell Max, “You don’t have to listen to him. You know, that’s not your parents, that’s your brother.” Max is very into jokes and wordplay. He journals. He writes songs. An example of his humor — I tell everyone he’s the driest you’ve ever heard, and they’re always like, “Of course. Where did he get that?” — we were all four in Colorado last October, and I was driving, and they’re both in the back seat and I said, “Oh my God, there’s a pumpkin in the road.” And Max chimed in — he was 6 at the time — from his little car seat, and he said, “You mean, ‘Oh my gourd.’ Pumpkins are gourds.” They’re just a funny little odd couple.

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Now that you’re in your 50s, have you started to pay more attention to your health?

Oh my gosh, yeah, very much so. I had a lot of health issues about a decade ago. [In 2012, Notaro became gravely ill from a Clostridium difficile infection and was also diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.] It’s been a tricky decade coming through all that, but it’s been good. My wife is 15 years younger than me, and her dream has always been to live to be 100. I told her I was like, “Oh no, you’re gonna die alone.” And she said, “No, you can do it. You can live to be 115.” And even though I don’t really think I can, I’ve really taken her up on that. Combined with my health issues and my want to live to be 115 and see my kids grow up — like right now [during the interview] I’m on a walk. I eat plant-based. I really prioritize my sleep. And I just try to have positive, fun, good people and experiences around me. It’s a big, big priority in my life.​

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